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Three new stations to close loop on Circle Line

SINGAPORE — Residents of Spottiswoode Park estate, visitors to the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and the Shenton Way crowd will have the Circle Line at their doorstep in 2025, when three stations are added to the MRT line to make it a seamless loop.

Three new stations to close loop on Circle Line
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SINGAPORE — Residents of Spottiswoode Park estate, visitors to the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and the Shenton Way crowd will have the Circle Line at their doorstep in 2025, when three stations are added to the MRT line to make it a seamless loop.

Construction of the 4km stretch — dubbed Circle Line 6 (CCL6) — to connect Harbourfront Station to Marina Bay Station will begin in the middle of 2017, and the three stations will be completed by 2025, said the Land Transport Authority yesterday. The extension is expected to cost S$3.7 billion.

Keppel Station will be sited near Keppel Terminal and Keppel Distripark, providing access to the Greater Southern Waterfront Development — an extension of the city area comprising new housing, commercial, cultural and entertainment options — that will emerge after relocation of port operations to Tuas.

Cantonment Station will be linked to the Spottiswoode Park housing estate and the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, while Prince Edward Station will be bounded by Shenton Way, Prince Edward Road and the Ayer Rajah Expressway.

Asked why the construction of the extension will take eight years, LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said the area is fairly dense and poses some constraints. “So we have to do it carefully and take time to take care of the heritage sites. I think the timeline is not unusual,” he said.

Visiting the future Tuas Link MRT Station yesterday, Senior Minister of State (Transport) Ng Chee Meng said attention would be given to buildings with historical and architectural significance along the Circle Line extension; he also noted how it would catalyse the transformation of the area.

“With these three new stations, we are laying the transportation foundations for the future development of the city port area,” said Mr Ng. The port terminals in Tanjong Pagar, Keppel and Brani will be relocated to Tuas after their leases expire in 2027, he said. “When this happens, we will have an opportunity to redevelop the area and enlarge our city area footprint.” The authorities will preserve the heritage of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station as much as possible, added Mr Ng.

Construction of Cantonment Station will affect 470m of the 550m-long train platforms. These stretches are not among the parts of the former railway station that are designated a national monument. The LTA will work with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and stakeholders to protect the station building during construction, said Mr Ng.

The Hock Teck See Temple built  in 1844, the Haji Muhammad Salleh Mosque, the mausoleum of Habib Noh (a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad) and the Bestway Building, which housed Singapore’s first polytechnic, will also not be affected by construction of the Prince Edward Station, said Mr Ng.

The extension of the Circle Line will enhance travel between eastern and western Singapore, said the LTA. For example, commuters travelling from Telok Blangah to Marina Bay now have to make two MRT transfers, but with CCL6, they will not need to make transfers and can cut travelling time by 10 minutes, or a-third.

Property analysts welcomed the greater convenience and said the closing of the Circle Line loop should be completed sooner, if possible. “If I were a resident there, it would really excite me,” said Mr Colin Tan, director of research and consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants, who felt ridership would spike on the Circle Line.

The two integrated resorts, as well as tourists, will also be cheering, he added. Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands will become “very accessible” and tourists need only stay close to one of the rail lines to get there easily.

But Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong noted that in the construction phase, developments near the site-preparation areas could see price stagnation, as tenants wary of traffic diversions or congestion become hesitant to rent.

“It’s too early to talk about benefits now ... Between now and then the bigger impact first would be how much downside there might be when construction is going on at these three locations,” he added.

To build CCL6, the Government will acquire four plots of private land — consisting of open areas, grass verges, container stacking lots and driveways. The landowners, who include 76 Shenton Way, port operator PSA and a subsidiary of property firm Mapletree, will be able to remain in their current premises. The total area acquired is 7,721.6 sq m.

A MapleTree spokesperson said they were notified of the Circle Line extension yesterday and “would need time to further review the impact of this development at the affected site. Meanwhile, we will work closely with the authorities to facilitate the process”. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY FRANCIS LAW

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