Timeline for LRT renewal project being reviewed

Progress on an ongoing renewal project to improve the Sengkang-Punggol LRT system's reliability has been hampered by Covid-19, said LTA. ST FILE PHOTO
Progress on an ongoing renewal project to improve the Sengkang-Punggol LRT system's reliability has been hampered by Covid-19, said LTA. ST FILE PHOTO

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SBS Transit are reviewing the timeline for an ongoing renewal project to improve the reliability of the Sengkang-Punggol LRT (SPLRT) system.

Responding to queries, LTA said this is because progress on the project - which began in December 2017 and was scheduled to be completed next year - has been hampered by Covid-19. The pandemic has also delayed other major rail projects such as the Thomson-East Coast Line, Cross Island Line and Jurong Region Line by up to a year.

The renewal works include the replacement of the SPLRT's power rail and power rail assemblies, while maintenance works are also being carried out on the signalling switch machines and cables.

Scaffolding that can still be seen along the LRT lines supports the replacement of viaduct bearings, which is also ongoing, LTA said.

The replacement works are part of enhanced preventive maintenance, which was supposed to be completed last year and also included the strengthening of cross-head structures that support the SPLRT viaducts. This came after LTA discovered cracks on the cross heads during regular inspections in 2017. LTA said at the time that the cracks did not pose any safety risk to commuters and did not compromise the load-bearing capacity of the cross heads. These cracks were fixed in early 2018.

Cracks that were found on the undercarriage of 11 first-generation SPLRT trains in 2016 were also fully rectified in end-2017.

LTA said last week it will add 17 two-car trains to meet growing demand from Sengkang and Punggol towns. The trains are expected to be delivered progressively from 2024 to 2027, doubling the number of two-car trains in the fleet to 33. The SPLRT also has 25 one-car trains.

LTA will also expand the current SPLRT depot from 3.5ha to 11.1ha.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2021, with the headline 'Timeline for LRT renewal project being reviewed'. Subscribe