What about a third option?

It is heartening that the Government will take into account the diverse concerns of stakeholders in deciding the alignment of the Cross Island MRT Line ("Both possible alignments for CRL will be studied" by Mr Chew Men Leong of the Land Transport Authority; yesterday).

However, the Government should perhaps reconsider the entire alignment of the Cross Island Line (CRL), given the massive impact that this would have on the environment and on the lives of residents who could have their properties acquired.

I have noticed that if the 9km skirting alignment were to be adopted, the CRL could duplicate the Thomson-East Coast Line for some distance along Upper Thomson Road.

This may result in stations constructed along the skirting alignment being underutilised.

Given the duplications, perhaps the LTA should evaluate whether the alignment of the entire CRL should be changed to ensure that ridership will not be compromised, and that the environmental and social impacts of the construction of the CRL are reduced to a minimum.

For instance, areas such as Balestier, eastern Toa Payoh and Serangoon Gardens are still not reached by MRT, but could potentially fall within a new alignment of the CRL.

A possible realignment of the CRL through these areas may benefit more commuters while averting the impact of construction on the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Dennis Chan Hoi Yim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2016, with the headline 'What about a third option?'. Print Edition | Subscribe