SINGAPORE - The Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub (ITH) that was to open in 2015 will now open in 2017, the Land Transport Authority said on Saturday.
But the ITH, which LTA first announced back in 2012, will open with 200 childcare spaces as part of Hillion mall, a retail space around the Bukit Panjang LRT station, the upcoming Bukit Panjang MRT station, a bus interchange and three blocks of residential apartments.
LTA also announced that a new slip road to Kranji Expressway (KJE) will open in 2017, giving residents there a direct route onto the expressway. Motorists currently have to make a loop around Woodlands Road before they hit the KJE.
In addition, a flyover along Upper Bukit Timah Road will be completed by the end of this year, joining the Bukit Panjang flyover that was completed in April, for smoother traffic overall along the Woodlands Road corridor.
Two new hawker centres are on the horizon for residents: one at Bangkit Road which will open by end-2015, and another along Senja Road in the next five years.
The increased choice and competition will hopefully lead to lower prices, said MP Liang Eng Hwa, who oversees the area as part of Holland-Bukit Timah GRC.
He was speaking to reporters ahead of a ministerial visit to the ward on Sunday by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.
Like Sengkang and Punggol, Bukit Panjang has a young demographic, with about 40 per cent of the population consisting of young families.
To meet the high demand for childcare services, 10 new childcare centres are being built or expanded, with three of them already operational, said Mr Liang. In total, the number of spaces offered will be more than double what was available four years ago.
The town, already home to large swathes of nature reserves and reservoirs, will also see more green spaces in an extension to Zhenghua Park, more park connectors and additional cycling paths.
There will also be lookout decks and a performance stage at Pang Sua Pond after it undergoes the Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters programme. When completed next year, a new boardwalk will link residents to facilities such as the Senja-Cashew Community Club and Bukit Panjang Neighbourhood 5 Park.
The raft of improvements come on top of upgrades over the last five years that have helped relieved residents' public transport woes, said Mr Liang.
These include 68 new buses under the Bus Service Enhancement Programme added to 17 bus services that ply Bukit Panjang, and an additional 13 train cars added to the breakdown-plagued LRT network since last year.