Kent Ridge mountain bike trail closed after landslide

Danson Cheong, The Straits Times AsiaOne 24 Dec 15;

The 2km Kent Ridge Park mountain bike trail, with its narrow pathways, steep inclines capped by large rocks and tree roots, and sharp descents, is one of the more challenging trails here. Updates on investigation works and when the trail will re-open will be posted on NParks' website.

SINGAPORE - One of the four remaining mountain bike trails in Singapore has been shut because of a landslide.

The Kent Ridge trail was closed on Dec 11 by the National Parks Board (NParks) after it detected a "slope failure".

The hiking trail was also closed for safety reasons, said NParks' director for parks, Mr Chia Seng Jiang, in response to queries from The Straits Times.

He added that key entrances to both trails have been cordoned off and advisory notices put up.

NParks said it was still investigating the cause of the landslide.

But heavier than usual rainfall has been experienced so far this month because of the north-east monsoon. The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said last week that these rainy conditions are expected to continue for the rest of the month.

The heavy rainfall has caused flooding in some parts of Singapore. It has also been blamed for a blackout at Orchard Central and the collapse of a false ceiling at the Hilton Hotel, which both happened this month.

The Kent Ridge trail, located off South Buona Vista Road, is about 2km long and is known to the mountain biking community to be one of the more challenging trails here.

Mr Chia said repairs would have to be carried out before the trail can be re-opened. He added: "As the investigation works are ongoing, we can determine when the trails will re-open only after the investigation is complete."

Updates will be posted on NParks' website when they are available, he said.

Apart from Kent Ridge, the three other areas officially open to mountain bikers are in Bukit Timah, Mandai and Pulau Ubin.

Mountain bike skills instructor Wilson Low, 32, visited the trail after it was closed and said the landslide had affected a stretch of about 30m of the hill.

"Parts of the ground are like quicksand and there is water coming out of the ground," he said .

Mountain bike trail consultant Lim Hui Min, 37, said NParks contacted him after the incident to ask what could be done to rectify the damage.

He said that repair works would take time, and would have to wait until drier weather prevailed.

He said: "We can't really build in the rainy weather. But, anyway, fewer people would be riding because of the rain."

Meanwhile, the mountain biking community has its fingers crossed.

"We have to be patient as part of this community... It's better to be safe than sorry," said Mr Low.

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