A huge plot of land next to Changi Airport will become a massive construction zone when major tunnelling works start next year and the construction of a new passenger terminal begins around 2020.
When construction peaks, about 20,000 workers, up from just 3,000 now, are expected to be based at the Changi East site.
Given the scale of the project, Changi Airport Group (CAG) has launched several initiatives to ensure the safety of workers and the security of the premises.
This is critical to ensure that there are no disruptions to flight operations at the airport, Mr Marken Ang, CAG's assistant general manager, Changi East Safety, said during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Among the new measures being introduced was the opening last month of a checkpoint at the worksite to monitor human and vehicle movement in and out of the premises, he said.
The facility can currently handle up to 500 vehicles and 8,000 people per hour.
Workers entering the airfield are issued with a transponder daily, which they must return when they leave the area.
Virtual fences are pre-programmed into a system. Should a worker cross the fence into the restricted area, an alarm will be triggered to alert the duty managers.
All the works are monitored from a command centre which receives information through a network of surveillance cameras and live-feed from ground supervisors.
Mr Ang said: "We have to be careful because the workers and vehicles are working close to the airfield...By using technology, for example, geo-fencing and electronic tracking, we are able to track exactly where the workers are, on a digital map. This allows us to deter incursions into the airfield area."
The Changi East project is Singapore's most ambitious attempt since Changi Airport opened on July 1, 1981, to cement Singapore's status as a key aviation hub for regional and global traffic.
By the time construction and other works are completed around 2030, Changi Airport will have almost doubled in size to cover more than 2,000ha.
The project involves the construction of Terminal 5, which will have an initial capacity of up to 50 million passengers a year - more than twice the size of any of the other three main terminals.
Works also include the development of a three-runway system, which will become operational in the early 2020s. This is to allow the airport to handle a growing number of flights.
Massive drains and tunnels, some of which will move bags and people between T5 and the current airport, are also being built.
The Changi East development, which is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars, will prepare Changi Airport, which handled a record number of 62.2 million passengers last year, for the coming decades.
With the demand for air travel in the Asia-Pacific region set to soar, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) said recently that it expects the number of flights in Asean skies to triple to more than 20,000 a day in 15 years.
New security measures in place
With Changi East, including Terminal 5, being developed next to the existing airport, Changi Airport Group has introduced new measures to ensure that workers stay safe and airport security is not compromised. Some steps that have been rolled out include:
CHANGI EAST CHECKPOINT
Opened last month to centralise entry of all vehicles and personnel into the construction site, the facility can handle up to 500 vehicles and 8,000 people per hour. There are current provisions to double the capacity when needed.
CHANGI EAST COMMAND CENTRE
The facility provides round-the-clock surveillance for works within the airfield at Changi East. Contractors from different projects are allocated spaces at the command centre so that they can keep an eye on their people through video surveillance systems and electronic tracking of workers. A digital map provides an overview of all ongoing works and key information such as the contact details of each project's supervisor. If necessary, the information can be retrieved off-site or on the ground via mobile devices.
ELECTRONIC TRACKING OF WORKERS
Each worker entering the airfield is issued with a transponder daily, which he must return when he leaves the area. Virtual fences are pre-programmed into a system. Should a worker cross the fence into the restricted area, an alarm will be triggered to alert the duty managers.
While closed-circuit television cameras are installed at various worksite locations, they provide limited coverage due to their static positions. With smart glasses, ground inspectors can stream real-time video footage to the command centre. The technology also allows them to communicate hands-free with the centre.
HEIGHT INFRINGEMENT DETECTION SYSTEM
To ensure aircraft safety, tall equipment such as cranes must comply with stipulated height restrictions and, in some cases, cannot enter restricted areas. Locally designed technology has been installed to monitor such equipment using sensors and global positioning system data. Duty managers are alerted when an incursion is detected.