SINGAPORE’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has begun construction of the Cross Island Line (CRL) Phase 1 following a ground-breaking ceremony officiated over by minister for transport, Mr S Iswaran, at the site of the future CRL Bright Hill station on January 18.

The 50km CRL will be Singapore’s eighth and longest fully-underground metro line, linking major hubs such as the Jurong Lake district, Punggol Digital district and Changi. The line, which will open in three stages, is expected to carry more than 600,000 passengers a day when the first phase opens in 2030, eventually increasing to more than one million.

CRL Phase 1 spans 29km with 12 stations from Aviation Park to Bright Hill, with interchanges to the East-West Line at Pasir Ris station, North-East Line at Hougang station, North-South Line at Ang Mo Kio station and Thomson-East Coast Line at Bright Hill station. LTA is launching tenders for CRL Phase 2, which comprises six stations from Turf City to Jurong Lake District, while engineering studies are ongoing for the third phase.

Bright Hill station will also be connected to a new 2km Transit Priority Corridor (TPC) along Sin Ming Avenue which will include a dedicated bus lane, new cycling paths and wider footpaths. When the TPC is fully completed in 2029, residents in Sin Ming area will have more travel options to get to Bright Hill MRT station and recreational spaces such as Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park.

Various technologies have been adopted to enhance construction efficiency and safety at CRL. These include virtual and augmented reality tools to enhance capabilities and facilitate coordination. Productivity is further increased through platforms such computer simulations of different operating scenarios at the Changi East Depot.

12.6m-high large-diameter Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) will be used to construct various stretches of the tunnels between the CRL stations such as between Aviation Park station and Loyang station, with each tunnel carrying two tracks. This will be the largest tunnel boring machine to be deployed on an LTA rail project and it is expected to increase work productivity and reduce manpower requirements.

At Teck Ghee station, a rectangular TBM will be used for the construction of underground walkways. To improve overall construction productivity and safely, contractors will employ the trenchless tunnelling method to minimise surface settlement. Other innovative construction methods will be used to improve overall construction productivity and safety, LTA says.

CRL trains will be stabled at the 57ha Changi East Depot, located near Changi Exhibition Centre. The depot will include the Operations Control Centre as well as maintenance facilities for up to 70 CRL trains, and will be fitted with photovoltaic solar panels to generate renewable energy for depot operations.

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