Phase 2 of the Cross Island MRT line (CRL) will comprise 6 stations from Turf City to Jurong Lake District, including interchanges with the Downtown Line at King Albert Park and the East-West Line at Clementi station. The remaining 2 stations along the 15km stretch are Maju, which is located next to the Singapore University of Social Sciences, and West Coast.
CRL phase 2 is slated to open by 2032, with construction works expected to begin in 2023. The first phase of the line comprises 12 stations from Aviation Park in Changi to Bright Hill in Sin Ming, and will open by 2030. Announcing the alignment for phase 2 on Tuesday (Sep 25), Transport Minister S Iswaran said it will provide greater public transport access to areas in the west such as Jurong Lake District and West Coast, and improve connectivity between the eastern, western and north-eastern parts of Singapore.
CRL phase 2 will benefit 40,000 households when it is ready in 2032, including those living in Sunset Way and along West Coast Road, which are currently not served by any MRT line. 3 plots of private land will be acquired for the construction of CRL phase 2 , said the authorities. These comprise 2 industrial units owned by JTC at Block L Pandan Loop Industrial Estate, and underground space under the carpark of Casa Esperanza condominium in Bukit Timah. Iswaran said the CRL - Singapore’s eighth MRT line - will significantly improve the network effect of the rail system, as it will have interchanges with other MRT lines.
Many Singaporeans will benefit from shorter, more direct journeys and faster commutes, he added, citing how the CRL will reduce the journey from Hougang to Ngee Ann Polytechnic from more than an hour by bus and rail to 35 minutes by rail. A 45-minute bus ride from Bukit Panjang to West Coast will take 25 minutes by MRT, Iswaran said. The CRL will help spread passengers across rail lines and reduce crowding, he said. A wider and denser rail network will also strengthen resilience, he added, referring to how commuters will be able to use other rail lines in the event of breakdowns.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it has completed an environmental impact study on the potential impact of works for Turf City, King Albert Park and Maju stations. A section of the CRL between King Albert Park and Maju will skirt the neighbouring Clementi Forest. Some of the mitigation measures expected to be taken include using machinery that reduces vibration and noise, and limiting working hours for non-critical works. A heritage impact assessment was also conducted to determine the impact of works at Turf City station, which will serve future housing developments in the area.
The current lease for the Turf City site will expire at the end of 2023, after a final 18-month extension was granted last year. The two impact assessment reports will be published on the LTA’s and Urban Redevelopment Authority’s websites in October for public feedback. Construction of CRL phase 2 will involve tunnelling directly underneath the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Singapore’s largest nature reserve, at a depth of 70m - the deepest any MRT tunnel will go here. The decision to go under the nature reserve for the stretch between Bright Hill and Turf City stations was made in late 2019 after a 2-phase environmental impact assessment was conducted over several years.
Announced in the 2013 Land Transport Master Plan, the 50km CRL will be built in three phases. The fully underground line will stretch from Changi to Tuas and link major hubs such as Jurong Lake District and Punggol Digital District. The entire MRT line was initially targeted to be ready by around 2030. But this has been pushed back, with only phase one, which is 29km long, slated to open by then. A 7.3km segment of the CRL will also extend from Pasir Ris to Punggol. The 4-station extension will benefit more than 40,000 households when it is operational in 2032.
Engineering studies are still being conducted for phase three of the CRL, which will serve the Jurong Industrial Estate. An earlier LTA tender said this third phase will be about 13km long, and consist of at least 4 stations between Jurong and Tuas, of which 2 will be interchanges. An integrated train and bus depot in Tuas will also be built to serve the new line.
West Coast GRC MP Foo Mee Har said the new Jurong Lake District station will substantially reduce travel time for her residents in Teban Gardens. She added that phases 2 and 3 of the CRL, along with the upcoming Jurong Region Line, will transform the western part of Singapore, which is currently not as well-connected as other parts of the island. “There is a lot of opportunity for renewal and rejuvenation,” Foo said, noting that there are also new housing developments planned for the area. Long-time Teban Gardens resident, Teoh Chin Chong, 57, said it used to be quite difficult for him to travel to places like Clementi via public transport.
While he now has a direct route to Clementi MRT station after bus service 201 was launched in 2014, the journey takes more than 20 minutes. With the upcoming Jurong Lake District CRL station located within a five-minute walk of his home, Teoh, who does not own a car, expects to be able to make the same journey in half the time. Asked if the 2032 opening date was too long a wait, the operations coordinator in the oil and gas sector said: “As long as it can benefit us in the long term, I do not mind... We already have the Jurong Region Line, which we are happy about. With this, it is double happiness.”
Credit: Business Times