SINGAPORE: The construction of the Little India and Rochor MRT stations is the biggest and most complicated rail project within the entire Downtown Line, according to authorities.
Challenges which engineers have faced include overcoming different ground conditions.
For instance, workers digging underneath Little India found a boulder the size of a double-decker bus. Workers had to use specialised hydraulic machinery to break such boulders into smaller pieces in order to carry on with the construction works.
In the process to construct the Rochor MRT station, they also encountered a 30 metre-thick layer of soft marine clay, which has the same consistency as peanut butter. Diaphragm walls were installed to support the Rochor station's infrastructure. The diaphragm walls also ensure the stability of the surrounding buildings.
Other challenges engineers faced included realigning the North-South Expressway tunnels together with Rochor MRT station. This minimises the need to conduct another set of extensive construction works to build the North-South Expressway.
Engineers also had to realign the 20-metre-wide and 200-metre-long Rochor Canal to build the Rochor MRT station. The canal was originally located in the middle of Rochor Canal Road and Sungei Road. The process to shift the canal to the right of Sungei Road started in mid-2010. Most of the major construction and realignment processes were completed by mid-2015.
The process to develop the Little India and Rochor stations involved over 30 stages of traffic and canal diversions. This included creating temporary roads to facilitate construction works and minimise traffic disruptions in Rochor.
The efforts made to overcome the challenges of building the S$803 million project were recognised by the Singapore Concrete Institute in the form of an excellence award in the builders' category last Friday (Nov 20).
Little India interchange station and Rochor station will open in end-December, as part of Downtown Line 2.