Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Feasibility study for 3rd underground facility

JTC invites consultants to study impact of cavern at Tanjung Kling site

No stone is being left unturned in Singapore’s underground push. Even the birds at Jurong Bird Park will not be ignored as the impact of construction and cavern operation on them will also be taken into account under a full-scale feasibility study called last Friday for an underground warehousing/logistics and data centre in Jurong.

The three-phased comprehensive study of the Tanjung Kling site – from preliminary geological assessment and market research to concept development – is expected to take up to two years in all, and follows a five-month ‘geological investigation and ground characterisation’ study called last November.

JTC Corporation on Friday invited consultants to undertake the latest study for what will be its third mega underground facility – following the start of construction recently of its $1 billion first-phase Jurong Rock Cavern to store oil, and its on-going 14-month feasibility study for an underground science city (USC) at Kent Ridge.

Both the USC and underground warehousing and data centre could be undertaken concurrently if the studies prove feasible, JTC earlier told BT.

Even the Economic Strategies Committee in its report last month recommended that Singapore’s push underground – given the limited surface land available here – be supported by a national geology office which should, among other things, develop a subterranean land rights system and determine how underground areas can be priced.

For JTC’s latest study, the appointed consultant will need to assess the technical requirements of warehousing and logistics players and developers and data centre operators, in order to develop the facility’s conceptual design.

The site comprises Tanjung Kling and Jurong Hill and is bounded by four roads – Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim, Jurong Pier Road, Jalan Buroh and Pioneer Road. It can potentially provide cavern space of over 1.1 million square metres and free up 45 hectares of surface land for other uses.

The consultant will also engage specialists, including environmental consultants and ornithologists, to ’study the impact of the underground development, during both the construction phase and the operational phase, to existing surface developments, traffic, environment, population working in the area and birds residing in the Jurong Bird Park,’ the JTC tender said.

‘Of particular concern will be the impact of construction noise and vibration… to the behaviour of birds in the Bird Park. The consultant shall engage with Jurong Bird Park to address their concerns on such impact to their bird population as well as to their operations,’ it stressed.

The preliminary geological assessment – expected to take five months – will include the consultant’s take on the total cavern space and volume that can be constructed.

Next will be the preliminary concepts, with the consultant recommending – from a list of usage possibilities like general cargo and chemical logistics to container depot – on what will be viable for siting in the underground cavern.

Finally, the study’s concept development phase will include its design, method of excavation and will even explore the feasibility of locating a district cooling system in the cavern complex.

The Tanjung Kling area was chosen for the underground ware- housing/data centre facility after earlier studies of geological conditions, JTC said. By going underground, the facility will enjoy advantages like shielding from heat and temperature humidity, have low background radiation and have less disturbance from vibration.

Source: Business Times, 9 Mar 2010

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