Additional underpass for Bukit Panjang MRT to open in first quarter of 2018 after initial delay

The Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub. A new 100m linkway, which will serve as the third entrance to Bukit Panjang MRT station, will open in the first quarter of 2018.
The Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub. A new 100m linkway, which will serve as the third entrance to Bukit Panjang MRT station, will open in the first quarter of 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A new underpass that will give residents in nearby HDB blocks sheltered access to Bukit Panjang MRT station will open in the first quarter of 2018 after a delay of more than a year.

The 100m linkway, which will serve as the third entrance to Bukit Panjang MRT station, was slated at first to open in December 2016 but was pushed back due to construction challenges.

Giving an update to The Straits Times last month, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said architectural works for the project have been completed.

Electrical and mechanical works have also been finished, it added, and will soon undergo testing.

"When it is completed, residents at Senja Road will be able to access the Bukit Panjang MRT station directly instead of via the junction of Bukit Panjang Road and Woodlands Road," said an LTA spokesman.

Bukit Panjang is the western terminus of Downtown Line 2 (DTL2), which opened in December 2015.

When the line was designed and built, only two entrances to the station were planned.

But the authorities gave the nod for a third entrance in 2013, after lobbying by Holland-Bukit Timah GRC residents and the GRC's MPs Liang Eng Hwa and Vivian Balakrishnan.

Construction on the linkway started in 2014.

When asked, the LTA said more time was needed due to the "presence of high rock levels during excavation and multiple utilities over-crossing the construction shaft of this new entrance".

"As these utilities could not be diverted, more time was needed for the contractor to carry out manual mining works around the utilities, to avoid damaging them and inconveniencing residents and stakeholders in the area," the spokesman said.

Mr Liang, who is grassroots adviser for the Zhenghua ward in the GRC, said the new underpass can serve as many as 50 housing blocks, or about 8,000 households in the area.

Those living more than a kilometre away can also cycle to the underpass and park their bicycles nearby, he added.

Amenities such as West View Primary School, Pacific Healthcare Nursing Home and Senja Soka Centre are also a short walk away from the underpass entrance.

"With the underground connectivity, residents can avoid the busy traffic junction. I recognise that it's a challenging (construction) site for the engineers... but we should still build it. It's a bit late, but it's better than not being there ," Mr Liang said.