Second flash flood at Upper Thomson Road in less than a month

Channel NewsAsia 19 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE: Flash floods hit Upper Thomson Road after heavy rain on Thursday afternoon (Jan 19).

National water agency PUB first issued an alert at 3.44pm, informing the public of flash floods at the junction of Upper Thomson Road and Jalan Lembah Thomson. It added that one lane was affected.

This is the same area which was flooded with knee-deep water on Christmas Eve.

According to alerts sent out by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the flash floods also affected the direction towards the Seletar Expressway after Jalan Pelatina, with congestion until MacRitchie Viaduct.

PUB later issued another alert at about 4pm, saying the flash floods have subsided.

The area is undergoing construction for the Upper Thomson MRT station. An investigation by PUB found that the contractor, Sato Kogyo, had carried out works that affected the public drainage system.

On Tuesday, PUB announced that it would take action against the contractor over the Christmas Eve flash floods under the Sewerage and Drainage Act. The contractor has also been instructed to carry out rectification work to improve the drainage in the area.

Separately, LTA had also instructed Sato Kogyo to expedite the completion of canal widening works, which would improve the problem of recurring flash floods at Jalan Keli.

Upper Thomson hit by second flood in two months
Shops spared but cars affected by knee-high water
Isabelle Liew The New Paper 20 Jan 17;

An "under-sized" drain in Upper Thomson that is currently being expanded to help with flood management was not enough to prevent yesterday's downpour from flooding the area again.

A joint statement from PUB and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it would take until the third quarter of this year for contractor Sato Kogyo to widen the existing canal located along Upper Thomson Road and Jalan Keli.

The statement said Sato Kogyo has been widening it to enhance the drainage system and improve overall flood resilience in the area.

"LTA has also instructed the contractor to expedite the completion of the canal widening along Jalan Keli," it said.

In the meantime, Sato Kogyo has changed the drain covers to facilitate the flow of water, and placed sandbags at several locations to prevent the water from flowing into the shophouses in the area.

PUB had earlier said it would be taking action against Sato Koygo as the temporary diversion drain constructed by the contractor within the worksite of the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line was found to be under-sized, and the contractor did not inform PUB prior to the commencement of these works.

Yesterday, heavy rain occurred from 3.10pm to 4pm, recording a total rainfall of 59.2mm.

Even with the anti-flood measures, a flash flood occurred at the junction of Upper Thomson Road and Jalan Lembah Thomson for about 20 minutes. No shops were affected.

Store manager of Tomoe Japanese Cuisine, Miss Susan Poon, said several cars parked outside her shop were affected by the knee-high water.

She told The New Paper: "We are lucky our restaurant is on high ground. We see a lot of floods here recently. If there is heavy rain, it is bound to flood. Business is also affected because customers cannot come if there is a flood."

The statement said the flood was from 3.44pm until 4.05pm.The shops near Jalan Keli that were affected by the flood on Christmas Eve, which are located on lower ground, were not affected yesterday.


An employee at ice cream parlour Salted Caramel told TNP their shop has not taken any precautionary measures despite being affected by the flood last month.

She said: "We are worried because if there is a flood, there is nothing we can do. Maybe we will try to use something to block the gaps under the doors."

Mr Jamal Mohammed, 50, an employee at The Roti Prata House, said yesterday's flood was about ankle-deep, but it did not flow into their eatery.

"The rain last month was much heavier (compared to yesterday's), so we knew it wouldn't flood. If the rain is heavier, we would get worried and start moving goods up."

Mr Jason Tan, store manager of Tom Yum Mama, a Thai eatery located along the same stretch, said the restaurant had just opened on Dec 30.

"The flood last month affected the construction (of the shop), but LTA said they would take precautionary measures to prevent floods, so we are not too worried," he said.

Mr Erwin Budiawan, 27, store manager of cafe Badoque, said the sandbags placed by Sato Kogyo had lessened his worries.

He said: "Of course we are scared of flood, but compared to last time, there are more people taking care of it now. We know what to expect.

"But we are still worried that sales will be affected."

None of the shops that TNP spoke to had taken precautionary measures of their own.

Steps taken to curb flooding at Upper Thomson Road
NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 20 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE — Sato Kogyo, the construction firm whose unauthorised work on the public drainage system contributed to flash floods along Upper Thomson Road on Christmas Eve last year, has changed drain covers to open ones to facilitate the flow of water and has used sandbags to prevent water from flowing into shophouses.

Providing an update after a flash flood struck the area on Thursday (Jan 19), national water agency PUB and the Land Transport Authority said the measures were “temporary improvement works to increase the drainage capacity in the area” since the Dec 24 incident. The sandbags are placed at the edge of the five-foot ways that front the shops along Upper Thomson Road.

Earlier this week, PUB announced that it had discovered unauthorised work on the public drainage system by Sato Kogyo, which is the LTA’s contractor for the Upper Thomson MRT Station project.

Sato Kogyo had constructed an under-sized temporary diversion drain within its worksite, and had not informed PUB before it started the work. The contractor had also altered the public drainage system across Upper Thomson Road, near Lorong Mega, without PUB’s approval and faces sanctions under the Sewerage and Drainage Act.

As intense rain fell over central Singapore on Thursday, a flash flood occurred at the junction of Upper Thomson Road and Jalan Lembah Thomson for about 20 minutes, from 3.44pm to 4.05pm. The Government agencies said 59.2mm of rainfall was recorded at Lower Peirce Reservoir from 3.10pm to 4pm.

But unlike the knee-deep waters on Dec 24 that damaged the equipment of shops such as The Roti Prata House, shophouses nearby were not affected this time.

The LTA said it has instructed Sato Kogyo to speed up the completion of canal-widening along Jalan Keli. Once it is completed early in the third quarter of this year, the area will have better protection against floods.

PUB advised the public to be cautious as flash floods may occur in the event of heavy storms. The public may also report flash floods or check on the flood situation via PUB’s Facebook page, its call centre (1800 2255 782) or its MyWaters mobile app.

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