SINGAPORE: Site investigations carried out to study the impact of two alignment options for the underground Cross Island Line (CRL) in the vicinity of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve have been completed, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday (Jun 8).
Findings from the investigations suggest that wildlife are present in the area, with camera traps picking up the presence of animals such as the Sunda Pangolin and the Lesser Mouse-deer, said the authority.
The alignment of the CRL, which is targeted to be completed around 2030, has created some controversy among environmentalists and nature groups as the direct alignment option goes directly underneath the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. A second skirting alignment option goes around the reserve.
The site investigations took place between May 2016 and September 2017 as part of efforts to assess the feasibility of the two CRL alignment options.
"Monitoring results from cameras and transect surveys from the (site investigation) works for the direct alignment suggested that fauna are present in the area," said LTA.
Photos released by LTA showed Sunda Pangolins both before and after the site investigation works near Sime Trail in the reserve.
“Our camera traps picked up (the) presence of animals like the Sunda Pangolin and Lesser Mouse-deer after the completion of SI works. The findings were encouraging and validated the mitigation measures developed,” said Dr Goh Kok Hun, LTA’s director of civil design and land.
Mitigation measures involved efforts such as reducing the number of boreholes required, from 72 to 16, and making sure these were on existing trails and clearings within the nature reserve, according to LTA.
The findings of the site investigation works will provide LTA with information on underground soil conditions, as well as provide input for Phase Two of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will assess the impact of construction and operations for the two alignment options.
Phase Two is ongoing and is expected to be completed later this year.
LTA said it has been in close consultation with nature groups on the studies, and will continue to engage them on the CRL.
The authority said it would finalise the CRL alignment after results from Phase Two of the EIA have been studied and discussed with stakeholders.