Tampines residents face heavy vehicle hazard

The scene of an accident on Monday involving a tipper truck and a car at the junction of Tampines Street 45 and Tampines Avenue 9.
The scene of an accident on Monday involving a tipper truck and a car at the junction of Tampines Street 45 and Tampines Avenue 9.STOMP FILE PHOTO

With new projects lined up near site of two accidents, residents fear for their safety

The tipper truck involved in a recent accident at the Tampines junction where two young brothers died a year earlier came from the same construction site as the cement-mixer truck that killed the boys.

With new projects lined up at the site near Tampines Street 45, residents fear this means more heavy vehicles plying the roads in the area and greater danger for children especially.

"Having many heavy vehicles ferrying construction material in and out all day long right smack in a school zone is very dangerous," said housewife Christina Tan, 48, who lives on Tampines Street 45. "These heavy vehicles shouldn't be so near such a populated road where lots of people walk to and from school."

Accidents involving heavy vehicles have come under the spotlight after Nigel Yap, 13, and his brother Donavan, seven, were fatally hit by a cement-mixer truck in January last year at the junction of Tampines Street 45 and Tampines Avenue 9. The driver responsible, Munir Mohd Naim, was jailed for two weeks on Monday for negligence.

In fact, the number of accidents involving heavy vehicles went up from 494 in 2012 to 526 for the first nine months of last year, the police said in response to Straits Times queries.

In the tragedy involving the Yap brothers, the vehicle was on its way to a Housing Board construction site next to Block 491E, where a new public estate, Tampines Alcoves, was being built.

Almost exactly a year later, on Monday, another heavy vehicle servicing the same HDB construction area - this time, a tipper truck - was in a collision with a car at the same junction.

The driver and a passenger from the car were taken conscious to Changi General Hospital. The Straits Times understands that the tipper truck driver, who works for Lian Teck Construction, was unhurt and was assisting with police investigations.

Lian Teck Construction declined to comment on the accident and its work, but HDB said the firm is doing excavation works for a future public housing estate next to Tampines Alcoves.

Both HDB projects are fenced within the same area and share a single entry-and-exit point almost directly opposite Dunman Secondary School.

And that is a problem, say Tampines residents.

Currently, 10 to 20 heavy vehicles make multiple trips, mostly from Tuas, where the construction materials are picked up, to the Tampines Alcoves site daily, said project manager Koh Kin Huat.

Tampines resident Fara Abdul Rahim, 24, a dental nurse, said: "Sometimes, they (drivers of heavy vehicles) don't see us when they come in and out, so we have to be extra careful crossing around here."

Ms Fara and several other residents The Straits Times spoke to called for the entrance to be moved to a less frequented area. But an HDB spokesman said that as the site is bounded by the Tampines Expressway and a park connector, the only feasible access is from Tampines Street 45. It was decided in consultation with the Land Transport Authority.

When asked, Tampines GRC MP Baey Yam Keng promised to "follow up quickly with HDB on the increased presence of heavy vehicles in that area".

But he noted: "At the end of it, we also have to be mindful that development works have to be done. One possible solution is to keep the current construction entrance, but find other ways to make Street 45 safer."