SINGAPORE - The popular Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in central Singapore will be closed for six months from September for repair works.
After this, there will be limited access to the reserve for the next 18 months - nature enthusiasts will only be able to trek on its main route on weekends.
These arrangements were made for the safety of visitors when works are ongoing, the National Parks Board (NParks) said on Monday afternoon.
This is the first time that the 163ha reserve will be closed for repair, as trails, slopes and amenities in the park need to be repaired and upgraded, said Dr Leong Chee Chiew, commissioner of parks and recreation and deputy chief executive of NParks.
During the two-year period, slopes will be stabilised and reinforced with piles to prevent soil movement that could result in a landslide; worn down trails with exposed tree roots will be improved, and 20-year-old amenities, such as the visitor centre will be upgraded.
The slew of measures undertaken by the Board will also include planting of vegetation and the construction of boardwalks that will help the biodiversity-rich reserve retain its lushness.
For instance, NParks will carry out "enrichment planting" along trails to enhance the forest habitat, minimise soil erosion and improve the forest cover.
Some 1.3 kilometres of boardwalks - elevated platforms that prevent visitors from trampling on forest litter and top soil - will also be constructed. This will reduce the impact of visitors walking on forest floor and allow insects and other smaller organisms to thrive.
Said Dr Leong: "We seek the understanding of the public for the need to limit access to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve so that extensive enhancements can be carried out to stabilise slopes, repair trails, upgrade the Visitor Centre, and restore the forest environment.
The slope stabilisations and trail repairs are necessary for public safety. The upgraded Visitor Centre will serve visitors better when re-opened."