SINGAPORE: The opening of the second phase of the Thomson-East Coast MRT line has been further delayed and is now expected to open in the third quarter of next year, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Monday (Dec 14).
The six stations comprising the second phase of the line - stretching from Springleaf to Caldecott - were originally scheduled to open by end-2020. This was rescheduled to the first quarter of 2021 due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to contain the outbreak.
A five-hour disruption of the line on Dec 4 - resulting from a signalling fault - has prompted the authority to review the software of the system “more thoroughly” with the contractor, said the LTA in a Facebook post.
Rail operator SMRT had then attributed the fault to a "software glitch" in a network component of the signalling system developed by French firm Alstom.
“As rail systems are complex, we will try to iron out as many teething issues as possible before opening the next phase,” said the LTA.
READ: Second stage of Thomson-East Coast Line to open early 2021 after delays due to COVID-19: Ong Ye Kung
The first stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line opened in January this year with three stations operational - Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South.
The entire 43km line, which will stretch from Woodlands to Sungei Bedok, was initially due to be fully operational in 2024, serving about 500,000 commuters daily in the initial years, rising to about 1 million commuters in the longer term.
The LTA added that it estimates completion delays of up to a year on various construction projects, including the Thomson-East Coast, Cross Island and Jurong Region MRT lines, Circle Line Stage 6 as well as the 21.5km long North South Corridor.
The revised completion and opening timelines for the remaining stages of these projects are still being finalised, it added.
The delays are due to the suspension of construction work during Singapore’s “circuit breaker” period, along with disruptions to the global supply chain for construction materials and a manpower crunch due to border closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.
“COVID-19 has impacted all sectors and its effects are especially pronounced in the construction industry. Although works have resumed progressively at all LTA work sites since 2 June 2020, strict safe management measures continue to be in place,” said the LTA.
The authority added that it will continue to explore ways to expedite its projects safely and enable better connectivity.