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Restored Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to offer 'new experience': Khaw

The phased approach to restoring the Nature Reserve, in addition to the works on its visitor centre, will help offer a "whole new experience for Singaporeans", says National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

SINGAPORE: In a blogpost on Monday (Aug 11), National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the National Parks Board (NParks) will work to reopen the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve as soon as possible, and promised the restoration works will offer a "whole new experience for Singaporeans".

It was announced in June that the Nature Reserve will be closed from Sep 15, 2014, for six months to repair affected slopes and trails, and Mr Khaw wrote on his blog that NParks will start with the most commonly used parts of the Reserve and try to reopen the grounds to visitors as soon as possible. 

"NParks will start with stabilising the slope along the main tarmac road next to the visitor centre. These works are expected to be completed within six months," he said.

Following the six-month closure, the main tarmac road will be reopened on weekends so visitors can go up to the summit. However, the road will be closed on weekdays so that vehicles carrying construction equipment can use it, he added.

Mr Khaw also addressed questions on whether the trails will still appear natural after the repair works are completed. He wrote: "While boardwalks will need to be installed in some areas to prevent further erosion, this will be done in a sensitive manner. The boardwalks will be cantilevered above the ground and, in fact, the wooden planks used to construct the boardwalks will be hand carried, piece by piece, into the narrow paths of the Reserves.  

"Natural vegetation along the trails will be restored and we hope that these efforts will help the forest trails recover."

Meanwhile, the mountain biking trail around the periphery of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve will not be affected, and stay open throughout the restoration process, he added.

On the visitor centre, Mr Khaw said another team will look into enhancing the facility. "This way, when the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve fully reopens, it will be a whole new experience for Singaporeans."

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