Govt to conduct environmental study for portion of Cross Island Line
- POSTED: 11 Sep 2013 14:03
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The government will conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment for the portion of the Cross Island Line around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
SINGAPORE: The government will conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment for the portion of the Cross Island Line around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
The study will ascertain how various alignments of the line could affect the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
The government's decision will also take into account other considerations such as transport connectivity, travel times and land use compatibility.
The study will include an assessment of the possible environmental impact on the reserve by possible direct crossing and skirting alignments during various phases of the project.
A tender for the study will be called in the first quarter of 2014 and the study is expected to be completed in 2016.
The Land Transport Authority said at a news conference on Wednesday that it has not made a decision on the final alignment of the Line.
Engineering experts said that the Environmental Impact Assessment needs to be thorough.
Dr Leung Chun Fai, professor of the department of civil and environmental engineering at the National University of Singapore, said: "If its a two years span, it would be really quite extensive and all angles will be looked at.
"Unlike other normal MRT tunnelling works, where the main concern is mainly the buildings adjacent to it; now in this case, it's nature -- so the aspect of the study will extend to the environment. So, in some ways this two years span is justifiable, in view of the extra things they have to look at."
Nature groups have called for a realignment of the line to skirt around the nature reserve.
However, LTA said this could duplicate the route taken by the Circle Line and the future Thomson Line. It said some residents in the Thomson area have also raised concerns the alternative route might affect their homes and living environment.
Nature groups will also be conducting their own study on the environmental impact the Cross Island Line will have on the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
LTA will take into account the study by the nature groups in the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Tony O'Dempsey, council member of the Nature Society (Singapore), said: "We will be helping LTA to scope the schedule of work that the environmental impact study has to addressed. It will be specifying the need to assess the bio-diversity of the area, to consider the ramifications of different types of equipment and what types of equipment could be possible to use, what could be the effects of using such equipment in the forests."
Environmental engineers caution that forests could be damaged during the Environmental Impact Assessment.
Dr Leung added: "In order to know the ground below the nature reserve, one would need to make bore holes which are of a typical size 150mm in diameter down to at least some depth below the tunnel alignment level.
"For example, the bore hole may collapse while drilling, and we would have to take a look at the effect on the nature."
LTA said it will minimise the need for boreholes by using non-intrusive soil investigation methods during the study.
The 50km Cross Island Line was announced in January, and is slated for completion in 2030.