Saturday, July 4, 2009

Work begins on Bt Timah MRT line

To be completed in 2015, it is the second phase of the Downtown Line

WORK started yesterday on the second phase of the Downtown Line (DTL2), which will take commuters through the Bukit Timah corridor to the city centre.

When completed in 2015, the 16.6km long DTL2 will give Bukit Panjang and Bukit Timah residents a direct rail link to the Central Business District (CBD) and Marina Bay.

More than 30 schools with about 60,000 students in all – including Hwa Chong Institution and National Junior College – will also benefit as train stations open near them.

Transport Minister Raymond Lim said at the groundbreaking ceremony yesterday: ‘Those who live, work and go to school in this area will enjoy a completely new way to travel, with convenient connections to every part of the city.’

A dozen stations will be strung out along DTL2, which will start in Bukit Panjang, pass through Bukit Timah and run to Rochor. There, it will link up to the first phase of the Downtown Line, which loops around Marina Bay and the CBD.

Those living and working in Bukit Timah are looking forward to having an MRT station open near them.

Mr Low Meng Hai, the 59-year-old chairman of the Beauty World Merchants Association, said with a laugh: ‘I might sell my car when the new line opens!’

Madam Ong Guat Ngo, 62, who lives in Jalan Jurong Kechil, is pleased that the upcoming Beauty World station will be a stone’s throw from her home.

The retiree now relies on buses to get around. A journey to People’s Park Centre in Chinatown takes her 1-1/2 hours by bus, including waiting time.

When the DTL2 opens, she will take only 40 minutes – less than half the time.

Sections of Upper Bukit Timah Road will be diverted from as early as the fourth quarter of this year; extensive diversions are also expected in Rochor.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) stressed that the capacity of the roads will not drop significantly because there will be a lane-for-lane replacement in the diverted roads.

The LTA will award four more civil contracts for the DTL2 by September. Six, worth $2.6 billion in all, have been awarded so far.

LTA chief executive Yam Ah Mee said the entire Downtown Line, projected to cost $12 billion, is within budget. Almost $6 billion in contracts have been awarded so far.

Tendering of civil contracts for the third and final phase of the line begins next year. Due for completion in 2016, this section will thread through eastern Singapore, ending at Expo.

Source: Business Times, 4 July 2009

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