NEL extension to open in 2023

Commuters getting into a train at the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station on the North-East Line.
Commuters getting into a train at the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station on the North-East Line.PHOTO: ST FILE

Punggol North station to open seven years ahead of schedule

The North-East Line (NEL) extension will open in 2023 - seven years ahead of the originally announced opening date of 2030.

The 1.6km extension will serve the Punggol North area and will include a station tentatively called Punggol Coast. With the new station, the total number of stations on the NEL will be 17.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will call tenders for the construction of the NEL extension this month, with construction expected to begin in the first half of next year.

When asked why there was a change in the original completion date of 2030, the LTA said the date was being brought forward to support developments in Punggol North and connect the mixed-used areas by rail.

Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng announced the new opening date yesterday at the Boon Lay station while visiting an exhibition about the Tuas West Extension on the East-West Line, which will open later this month.

Mr Ng, who is a Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, said of the NEL extension: "This will benefit residents and students in the Punggol town area, especially in the northern part of Punggol."

More than 7,000 Housing Board flats are expected to be ready in the area by 2021.

Punggol North will also be the location for an upcoming "enterprise district" - to be developed by the JTC Corporation - which will house firms in the digital and cyber security industries, as well as the new campus of the Singapore Institute of Technology.

In response to feedback from commuters, the new station will also incorporate more open public spaces where activities will be held, as well as a dedicated community space for exhibitions, said the LTA.

"We envision the station to be a vibrant community hub that brings commuters together in the heart of Punggol North," said LTA deputy chief executive for public transport, policy and planning, Mr Jeremy Yap.

Mr Muhammad Mukhlis - who expects to get the keys to his flat at the Northshore Residences II development in 2020 - said the new MRT station will make commuting easier.

With the new station - about a 10 minute walk from his new home - he will not have to transfer from the Punggol LRT line to the NEL when travelling to other parts of the island. "This will make it easier for my wife and I to get around, especially since we will have a child by then," said the 25-year-old teacher, who is expecting his first child in December.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2017, with the headline 'NEL extension to open in 2023'. Print Edition | Subscribe