Work on Downtown Line stage 3 kicks off on Monday

Hetty Musfirah Channel NewsAsia 26 Nov 11;

"One of the challenges of building the Botanic Gardens station is the need to take care of the environmental impact."

SINGAPORE: Construction of the Downtown Line (DTL) will go full swing when work on the third phase kicks off on Monday.

The 42-kilometre Downtown Line is being constructed in three phases - DTL 1, DTL 2 and DTL 3.

The first two stages are progressing well.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) told Channel NewsAsia that DTL 1 is now 85 percent complete while DTL 2 is 40 percent done.

The DTL, Singapore's fifth MRT line, will boost connectivity from the northwest to the central-eastern areas.

Work on 12 stations on DTL 2, which runs along the Bukit Timah corridor towards the city, is on track for completion in 2015.

It will provide commuters living in Bukit Panjang and Bukit Timah better access to the rest of the island.

Excavation work has begun at Cashew, Beauty World, Botanic Gardens, Stevens, Newton and Little India stations.

At the Botanic Gardens station, three of the seven levels have been excavated.

LTA's senior project manager for Botanic Gardens station, Lim Bock Ho, said: "Below the fourth level, that's when we will encounter rock and that's when we have to do blasting."

He said one of the challenges of building the Botanic Gardens station is the need to take care of the environmental impact.

Behind the station is an eco-lake, so "we don't want to spoil the biodiversity of this area. Our aim is to not to have contaminated the water going into the eco-lake, otherwise the flora and fauna will be dead," said Mr Lim.

"The other challenge is because we are located beside the existing Circle Line station, our job is to make sure that we don't disrupt the operation of the existing station," added Mr Lim.

A 100-metre linkway will provide commuters easy access between the Botanic Gardens Downtown Line station and the Circle Line station.

Work on DTL 1, which runs through some busy corridors like Bugis and Chinatown, is almost complete.

The basic structure of all six stations is up while electrical and mechanical works are underway.

DTL 1, which is due for completion in 2013, is a loop connected to DTL 3, which runs to eastern towns like Bedok and Tampines.

So travelling from Chinatown to Bedok Reservoir will take 35 minutes instead of 50 minutes currently.

All 34 DTL stations will be fully operational in 2017. They will serve about half-a-million commuters daily.

- CNA/ir