Another 15.2km of underground mass transit is to be added to Singapore's existing metro system. LTA, the Government's Land Transport Authority, as the planning and procurement agency of the MRT (mass rapid transit) system announces two new underground projects to extend the current Thomson Line, construction of which is just beginning, and an underground link to connect it to the Downtown Line Phase 3 which is also currently under construction.
The 13km east coast stretch of what will be known as the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) when it is completed, is effectively an extension of the already under construction 30km all-underground Thomson Line, starting just east of the Gardens in the Bay Station and incorporating nine new stations (Fig 1).
In addition, the LTA has finalised the alignment of the DTL3 Extension (DTL3e), which joins the eastern end of what will be the TEL at Sungei Bedok with the DTL3 line at Expo (Fig 2) to create a circular line. This new extension will be 2.2km long and consist of two stations, including an interchange station with the east coast stretch of TEL. It will improve public transport accessibility to the Changi Business Park and Expo areas. By linking the TEL and DTL, this extension also improves public transport connectivity in the eastern areas of Singapore, and helps relieve crowding on the East-West Line (EWL).
An additional feature of the TEL underground construction will be longer underpass access to the stations – some as long as 400m – to shelter commuters against the weather and improve safety by reducing the need to cross busy roads to gain station access.
The east coast stretch of TEL will be completed in two stages: the first seven stations from Tanjong Rhu to Bayshore will be ready in 2023, while the remaining two stations and the DTL3e will be completed the following year.
Singapore has already completed a large network of underground MRT alignment during the first two phases of the Downtown Line, and the country’s thirst for TBMs shows little sign of diminishing as it prepares to develop major east-west and north-south cable tunnels, the 30km Thomson Line – for which the final three construction packages were only awarded last month (July 2014) - and the DTL3e; as well as outstanding work to be completed on construction of the Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) and Downtown Line 3 (DTL3).