Singapore’s eight MRT line, the Cross Island Line (CRL) is probably the most ambitious project in our history, since the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).
The 43 km-long TEL which tunnelled below the Marina Channel and Innova JC, also involved techniques such as ground freezing. This is an innovative method (among many others) where water-logged earth is frozen to form ice walls, so as to stabilise the ground during excavation works.
And the construction of the CRL poses a different set of challenges, which will also require equally innovative solutions.
But this time, there will be 50km of tunnels, making it Singapore’s longest fully-underground MRT line.
Not that it’s ambitious for ambition's sake but still.
The CRL is expected to be completed sometime in the 2030s, and about half of its stations will serve as interchanges, which means better connectivity.
Which also means you, dear commuter, get more alternative ways to get to your destination.
But what are the tangible benefits that commuters can experience?
1. Ulu business and industrial districts are finally not that ulu
While it’s good that we are going to move businesses away from the CBD, it only makes sense if there’s better connectivity to these (usually) far-flung places.
A cursory look at Phase 1 of CRL informs us that people working in Tampines Industrial Estate, Changi Aviation Park, Loyang Industrial Park and Defu Industrial Area are in for a treat.
What’s more, the Jurong Lake District, Jurong Industrial Estate and Punggol Digital District will also benefit once the entire CRL is up.
2. Shorter travelling time or to be precise, up to 45 minutes saved in travelling time
We hate to point out the obvious but do indulge us as we pretend to be Captain Obvious for a day.
35 minutes from Ang Mo Kio to Aviation Park (70 minutes saved).
25 minutes from Serangoon North to Loyang Industrial Park (75 minutes saved).
30 minutes from Bright Hill to Pasir Ris East (80 minutes saved).
End of obvious message.
3. Can you hear the wallets cheer?
The opening of 12 stations and 29 km-long Phase 1 will see more than 100,000 households enjoying reduced travelling times.
The LTA transport master plan aims to bring eight in 10 households within a 10-minute walk of a train station.
Remember the Land Transport Master Plan?
Tech-esque stats aside, this is the only stats that matter to Singaporeans: increased in SGD in the wallet.
That kind of connectivity would mean less reliant on taxis or buying cars.
And most importantly, turning Singapore into a “car-lite” country.
4. Other MRT lines heave a sigh of relief
The two grand ol’ lines, North-South and East-West, have been the backbone of the MRT system for decades, ferrying millions of commuters to and fro.
Naturally, the Circle and North East lines are beneficiaries as well.
But the introduction of CRL will help shoulder the load.
LTA estimates that CRL will have an initial daily ridership of 600,000, rising up to one million, thus making it Singapore’s most heavily used line.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said: “The over-crowdedness that our commuters experience now will be eased.”
5. Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon North and Punggol residents
For the longest time, Serangoon North has to contend with being the ugly sibling of Ang Mo Kio and Serangoon, relying solely on buses to transport her people around.
Not anymore come 2029 as Serangoon North will be one of the 12 stations along CRL Phase 1. The rest are:
And for Ang Mo Kio residents, the CRL will make sure y’all just need 45 minutes or so to get to almost anywhere in Singapore by public transport.
Punggol residents stand to benefit too as the eastern leg of the CRL will include a segment that extends to Punggol from Pasir Ris -- a 10 to 15 minutes as compared to a 40-minute bus journey now.
And the reverse is true, those who want to visit Ang Mo Kio (great food), Serangoon North (hurray, kids studying at Rosyth School) and Waterway Point (where the nation's BTO families await) will benefit from CRL.
Now imagine the connectivity it brings to Singaporeans when the entire CRL is up. And especially because of its inclusion in the already connected MRT map, the CRL is all the more impressive.
This sponsored article by LTA made this writer ambitious.
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