The upcoming Punggol Coast MRT station will be ready by 2024, with about 40 per cent of construction work completed as at yesterday.
Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung gave this update at a ceremony to mark the completion of tunnel boring works from the existing Punggol station to the future Punggol Coast station yesterday.
The new station had initially been slated for completion in 2023, but this has been delayed owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The project is a 1.6km extension of the North East Line.
When open, the station will connect commuters to the still-developing Punggol Digital District, a business park that will be co-located with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) campus.
Mr Ong, in his speech, said the MRT station was an essential component of the space.
"There is no point building a new district that people cannot get to. Just look at places like Tokyo Station in Japan, Piccadilly Circus Station in London and Grand Central Station in New York. They are synonymous with the vibrant and prosperous districts that they serve.
"I hope the upcoming station will become synonymous with the good jobs, quality education and smart lifestyle that Punggol Digital District brings," he said.
Punggol Coast MRT station is expected to be used by more than 75,000 employees of the new business park, students and residents in the area.
It is part of the Government's plan to expand the rail network from around 230km today to 360km by the early 2030s, and to bring eight in 10 households within a 10-minute walk of a train station.
The business park in Punggol, being developed by JTC Corporation, will offer more than 28,000 new jobs in fields such as cyber security and data science.
The tunnelling works finished yesterday were completed using two tunnel boring machines, each fitted with sensors to monitor the progress in real time to ensure precision and minimise disturbance to the surrounding infrastructure.
Mr Kok Poh June, JTC group director of new estates division 2, said the station is at the centre of the Punggol Digital District and that those within a 10-minute radius will be able to access it under shelter, whether by pedestrian overhead bridges or underpasses.
"It makes it very convenient for the commuters to travel to the MRT station. We focused a lot on the three-in-one integration between the SIT campus, the MRT station and the business park," he said.
In his speech, Mr Ong also touched on seizing the opportunity afforded by the pandemic to change travel habits, so that traffic is spread out throughout the day.
Passenger numbers currently stand at about 70 per cent of their pre-Covid-19 levels.
Mr Ong said: "If employers can help adjust work hour requirements, allow workers to toggle between working from home and office, our travel habits will evolve. This would be an outcome that we have been yearning for for decades.
"The old habits - rushing during morning and peak hours every day - are neither logical, comfortable, efficient nor environmentally friendly."
He said the MRT system is designed to accommodate peak period crowds, which sometimes means it becomes underutilised during off-peak hours.
"If and when travel volume recovers, and everyone travels during the same rush hour again, then we would have wasted the crisis."