Clementi landslide: Recovery, construction work may take months, says Desmond Lee

BCA, the Ministry of Manpower and HDB are investigating what contributed to the slope failure. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
HDB and the contractors have created a channel to allow water to flow through the canal. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
HDB, the NParks and PUB have been working round the clock to carry out immediate repair and slope stabilisation recovery works. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
NParks said that after an assessment by NParks, PUB and HDB, a section of the park connector will remain closed. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
HDB, the NParks and PUB have been working round the clock to carry out immediate repair and slope stabilisation recovery works. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - It may take a few months for recovery and construction efforts to repair the damage caused by the landslide at a Clementi Build-To-Order (BTO) site last Friday.

In the early hours of that day, a landslide at the Clementi NorthArc construction site in Clementi Avenue 6 damaged the Ulu Pandan Park Connector and displaced soil into the Ulu Pandan Canal.

On Sunday, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the Housing Board's engineers and the project's qualified person - either an architect or engineer - had inspected the surrounding buildings and structures and found them still structurally sound.

Over the past two days, HDB, the National Parks Board (NParks) and national water agency PUB have been working round the clock to carry out immediate repair and slope stabilisation recovery works.

"Our priority has been to mitigate the impact of the slope failure to ensure workers' and public safety," said Mr Lee, who visited the segment of the park connector where the slope failure occurred with Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann on Sunday.

HDB and the contractors have applied a thin layer of concrete to help stabilise the slope. They have also created a channel to allow water to flow through the canal to mitigate any flood risks upstream, especially given the rainy weather.

"More permanent slope stabilisation measures are being carried out, followed by the main recovery and construction efforts, which may take a few months," said Mr Lee.

The recovery work includes removing the dislodged soil in the canal, reinstating the damaged part of the park connector, and reconstructing the slope and retaining walls within the site.

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BCA, the Ministry of Manpower and HDB are investigating what contributed to the slope failure.

"In the meantime, safety remains our priority. We will continue to check the instrument readings deployed within and around the site to closely monitor structural safety throughout the entire recovery process," said Mr Lee.

He added that the recovery process will take some time and he sought the patience and understanding of residents and park users, who may be inconvenienced during this time.

On Sunday, NParks said that a section of the park connector will remain closed, after an assessment by it, PUB and HDB. This section stretches between Boon Lay Way and Clementi Road and is nearer to the area of the slope failure.

Said NParks: "This is for public safety due to ongoing and planned recovery and repair works, and potential flood risks."

The park connector beyond the section - from Clementi Road to Commonwealth Avenue West, near Ghim Moh Road - has reopened.

NParks and PUB will closely monitor the rain forecast and water level in the canal and will temporarily close the park connector when necessary.

PUB advised the public to avoid using the park connector during heavy rain.

"Should flooding occur, remain on high ground and avoid walking through floodwaters," it said.

Referring to the reopened portion of the park connector, Ms Sim said: "I hope this restores convenience to some of the residents whose use of the park connector has been affected since Friday."

The landslide has also affected part of the BTO construction site, where a retaining wall - which holds back earth or water - was being built, and where a basketball court and pavilion would be located.

One passer-by suffered minor injuries from the incident and was attended to on site. He is currently recuperating at home.

The BTO project was launched in February 2017 with an estimated completion date in the second half of this year. Since then, it has been delayed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic - first, till the third quarter of this year, and then for up to another six months, till March next year.

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