SINGAPORE: At the major arterial junction of Fort Road, Tanjong Rhu Road and Meyer Road, Land Transport Authority (LTA) engineers are attempting a minor feat.
The area is surrounded by high-rise condominiums, an underground fort and a heritage tree, but authorities are striving to construct Katong Park MRT station, one of 31 stations on the Thomson-East Coast Line.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng visited the station's construction site on Monday morning (Jan 7), where they were briefed on challenges in the building of the station.
According to LTA, engineers face space constraints due to a narrow construction corridor along Meyer Road, where there are "sensitive structures" such as an underground fort and heritage tree within Katong Park, as well as residential properties.
READ: Founders' Memorial MRT station added to Thomson-East Coast Line; 3 stations on track to open in 2019
Also, Meyer Road is busy with bi-directional traffic, with a narrow road width of around 6m. The presence of "numerous underground utilities" undercrossing Fort Road and Meyer Road also means that there is insufficient space for the construction of a launch shaft for a tunnel-boring machine.
Engineers have to use a stacked tunnels method, where the Woodlands-bound and Changi-bound tunnels are located on different levels in Katong Park station. This method reduces the overall station footprint and avoids encroaching on adjoining private land, LTA said.
Hence, similar to the Downtown Line's Promenade and Stevens stations, commuters will need to go to different levels of the station to board trains travelling in opposite directions.
Another challenge is that the ground at Katong Park station, which is built on reclaimed land, is primarily soft marine clay. The clay has the same consistency of peanut butter, LTA said.
To minimise construction risks, selected stretches of the ground were strengthened to facilitate tunnelling works and the diaphragm walls for construction were extended 65m underground, beyond the 28m of the station box.
In addition, LTA also engaged residents and Katong Park users to raise awareness of the construction works.
Katong Park station is part of the Thomson-East Coast Line's fourth stage. Other stations include Founders’ Memorial, Tanjong Rhu, Katong Park, Tanjong Katong, Marine Parade, Marine Terrace, Siglap and Bayshore. This stage is presently about 40 per cent complete and scheduled to open in 2023.