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Site tests to assess impact of Cross Island Line begin at nature reserve

SINGAPORE — Site investigation works to study if the future Cross Island Line will pass under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) are now being carried out in the area, with mitigating measures being put in place to address nature groups’ concerns about the impact of such works on the reserve.

Site tests to assess impact of Cross Island Line begin at nature reserve

Site investigation works are carried out at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve on March 22, 2017 Photo: Wee Teck Hian/TODAY

SINGAPORE — Site investigation works to study if the future Cross Island Line will pass under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) are now being carried out in the area, with mitigating measures being put in place to address nature groups’ concerns about the impact of such works on the reserve.

The works are being done at 16 sites at the CCNR. These began last week at one site in a forested area, while at another four sites, works started in February.

At a media briefing yesterday, Dr Goh Kok Hun, deputy director of geotechnical and tunnels at the Land Transport Authority (LTA), stressed that those involved in the study are adhering to stringent requirements during the investigation works.

“The LTA is working closely with NParks (National Parks Board), nature groups and our contractors to ensure that the site investigation works are done in the best possible manner. Other than significantly reducing the number of boreholes required from 72 to 16, we have also limited the boreholes’ locations to existing trails and clearings like this within the CCNR,” he told reporters after a demonstration on how the works are being done at one of the sites at the CCNR. He also explained how the mitigating measures work.

“Workers have to observe stringent requirements stipulated under the Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan while carrying out their works.”

He added: “We are doing these soil investigation works so that once we understand soil and rock conditions, we can assess the impact of construction and operations for the two possible alignments — the direct alignment or the skirting alignment.”

The direct alignment option will cut through the CCNR, running for 2km, while the skirting alignment will run for 9km under homes and businesses. The authorities have yet to make a decision on the issue.

Nature groups are opposed to the direct alignment option, noting that it will hurt the nature reserve and there are no guarantees that the mitigating measures for the site investigation works will not have an impact on the environment.

The LTA said other mitigating measures have also been put in place during the investigation works at the 16 sites, which are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

For instance, all activities will be restricted to daylight hours from 9am to 5pm, so as not to affect nocturnal animals.

Boreholes will also be done only at public trails and existing clearings within the CCNR. “Ecologically sensitive” areas such as streams and swampy areas will be avoided, and there will be also be a 30m buffer zone around them.

A certified arborist has been appointed to propose and assess methods to avoid damage to trees during the borehole process, the LTA said.

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