SINGAPORE: A sky park is set to be built above the Bukit Timah canal, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced on Saturday (Aug 31).
Construction works for the first phase of the new park, a 1.4km elevated stretch that runs from the Rail Corridor to Elm Avenue, will start in 2021 and is expected to be completed within two to three years.
The sky park is part of the National Parks Board (NParks) plan to develop the Bukit Timah-Rochor Green Corridor, a linear park that lies between Bukit Timah Road and Dunearn Road.
In future, this green corridor may be extended all the way to Kallang Riverside, totalling 11km.
Mr Wong said the new green corridor will serve as a crucial green link connecting the three national gardens – Jurong Lake Gardens, Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay – and help to optimise space.
"This space is part of our drainage reserves, which we usually don't touch, but now we're developing a linear park above the canal so users will be separated from the traffic below," said Mr Wong.
Speaking at the former Bukit Timah railway station, Mr Wong also announced that works to restore the conserved station and its surroundings have begun.
The former station is at one end of the 4km central part of the Rail Corridor. The other end is at Hillview MRT station.
According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and NParks, the building will retain its original railway features but will be repurposed as a heritage gallery for visitors to learn about the history of the railway station and the Rail Corridor. The agencies say that restoration works will be carried out in line with conservation guidelines.
The area will also see the building of a new entrance garden at King Albert Park, an orchard inspired by a 1960s Kampung, as well as new fruit trees such as cempedak, binjai and belimbing.
In October last year, NParks and URA started works to enhance the central part of the Rail Corridor. This includes improvements to trails, restoration works for the truss bridges, construction of a new pedestrian underpass at Hindhede Drive, and habitat enhancements.
Mr Wong also announced that several stretches, totalling 4.2km, of the southern half of the Rail Corridor have been reopened to the public.
The 11km stretch from Bukit Timah to Tanjong Pagar was closed in 2016 due to pipe works carried out by PUB.
By 2020, the whole southern half of the Rail Corridor will be opened.