The Circle Line (CCL) will finally be true to its name in 2025, when a 4km rail stretch with three new stations - Keppel, Cantonment and Prince Edward - is completed.
This sixth stage of the CCL will link existing terminal stations HarbourFront and Marina Bay, offering commuters direct routes to the city and Marina Bay area.
For example, a trip from Telok Blangah to Marina Bay now requires two transfers - from the CCL to the North East Line, and then the North-South Line. With the completion of the extension, a commuter can reach his destination in a single train ride, cutting travelling time by a third, or about 10 minutes.
The additional stations will also expand the rail network to areas such as Prince Edward, Everton Park and the southern edge of the city.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Ng Chee Meng, who unveiled the new stations during a visit to the Tuas West Extension, said yesterday: "(The) CCL6 will support direct east-west travel, enhancing overall connectivity between areas such as Paya Lebar and Mountbatten, and areas such as Pasir Panjang, Kent Ridge and Harbour-Front."
He added that the extension will enhance the CCL's role as an orbital line allowing commuters to transfer between MRT lines without entering the city centre.
This extension will cost $3.7 billion and construction is expected to start in the middle of 2017. More than 400,000 commuters use the line daily and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) expects ridership to grow further, though it did not provide a projection.
The extension will also support future developments, such as the Greater Southern Waterfront proj-ect, a 1,000ha slice of coastal land that will be freed up by the relocation of ports from Pasir Panjang and Tanjong Pagar to Tuas by 2027.
The Keppel station will provide commuters with access to the area, along with the current Keppel Distripark.
Meanwhile, the Cantonment station will be near the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and offer access to Spottiswoode Park Estate and Cantonment Towers. It will be beneath a section of the old station's track platforms and LTA said it will work to see how the platforms can be preserved.
The Prince Edward station will be near Palmer Road, where heritage landmarks like the Hock Teck See Temple and Haji Muhammad Salleh Mosque are.
To cater to the construction, four part lots of private land - including open areas, container stacking lots and driveways - will be acquired. The combined land space gazetted is 7,721.6 sq m.
One of the four is a 648.6 sq m plot in the Tanjong Pagar Distripark that is currently a driveway and carpark for Bougainvillea Realty. The firm is a holding company under Mapletree Investments, whose spokesman said it will need time to evaluate the impact, and will work with the authorities to facilitate the acquisition.
Commuters interviewed are looking forward to the full loop.
Public relations executive Eugene Chuang, 25, who lives along Dunearn Road, said that instead of taking an hour-long bus journey on service 171 to Marina Bay, he will be able to take the Circle Line from Botanic Gardens station. "I estimate the journey will take no longer than 40 minutes, since going from Botanic Gardens to HarbourFront currently takes 25 minutes, and it's just three stations and 4km more."