After experiencing several high-profile rail operations disruptions, the government will invest over $60 billion in the renewal and expansion of its rail network in the next decade.
“The hard lesson learnt by the problems earlier faced by SMRT is that we must invest in good operations and maintenance,” said Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan on Thursday (5 March) during the Committee of Supply debate for the transport ministry.
In 2017, an MRT tunnel flooding resulted in more than a 20-hour disruption of service on the North-South Line.
Khaw revealed that the $60 billion will be spent on a number of projects – such as the Thomson-East Coast Line’s (TEL) completion by 2024 as well as the construction of the Jurong Region Line (JRL) and the Cross Island Line’s (CRL) first phase by 2028 and 2029, respectively.
By 2025, the existing lines – Circle, North-East and Downtown lines – will also be extended, increasing the city-state’s rail network from the current 230km to 360km, reported CNA.
The rail expansion works will bring about 80% of people within walking distance to an MRT station by 2030, said Khaw, who also serves as Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure.
“We will have achieved or exceeded the level of train connectivity enjoyed by the residents in Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York today,” he noted.
Major renewal works on Singapore’s oldest lines – the 32-year-old East-West and North-South MRT Lines as well as the 20-year old Bukit Panjang LRT – are also slated for completion over the next few years.
“In time, we will also need to renew the next oldest lines – North-East Line and Sengkang-Punggol LRT,” said Khaw.
Commenting on the proposed Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System Link, Khaw noted that the project is suspended until end-April this year. He expects Malaysia’s recent change of government to further impact its development.
“While we remain committed to working with Malaysia to find a way forward, the project cannot be suspended indefinitely,” he said. “We therefore look forward to hearing from Malaysia soon.”
Source: Property Guru News