SINGAPORE - Tunneling works for the third and final stage of the Downtown Line (DTL3) was officially started on Wednesday at the site of the future Mattar station.
Minister of State for Finance and Transport Mrs Josephine Teo this afternoon launched the first of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) which will tunnel through a distance of about 1.4km to Geylang Bahru station.
The entire tunnelling process along the 21km stretch of DTL3 is expected to take about 25 months with 29 TBMs being launched at different locations along the alignment.
DTL stage three is expected to be completed in 2017 while stages one and two should be completed in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
There are 16 stations in DTL3, from Expo station in the east to Fort Canning station in the heart of town. DTL3 also has three interchange stations - MacPherson, Tampines and Expo, allowing commuters to transfer to the East West Line and Circle Line.
Running almost parallel to the East West Line (EWL), the DTL3 will provide a link for residents and commuters living and working along the line to the Central Business District and the Marina Bay area.
In a statement to the media, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that there will be challenges in completing the tunnelling works.
They include the fact that the alignment of the track traverses through difficult ground conditions such as very soft ground and marine clay.
Further, to avoid tunnelling under buildings, these tunnels have been aligned to stack on top of each other at certain stretches.
The tunnels will also run under the Kallang - Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE) and the Pelton canal in the direction of MacPherson station as well as under the Pan Island Expressway (PIE).
Speaking at the launch, Mrs Teo said that LTA will roll out even more rail lines over the next decade.
She added that LTA and SMRT will work on upgrading the North-South and East-West Lines' signalling system in an attempt to shorten waiting times for commuters and will work to improve capacity by up to potentially 20 per cent.
"LTA and SMRT have assembled a team of experienced officers to carry out this project over the next 4-5 years," she said.