Up to 5 North-South Line stations to close on Vesak Day long weekend for construction works

75 per cent of construction works at Canberra station have been completed, and the new station is expected to open by the end of this year. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Up to five stations between Admiralty and Yio Chu Kang MRT stations will be closed for three days during the Vesak Day long weekend (May 18-20) to facilitate the construction of a crossover track at the upcoming Canberra station.

Admiralty and Sembawang MRT stations will not operate on May 18 and 19, and they will be joined by three additional stations - Yishun, Khatib, Yio Chu Kang - on May 20.

As part of the works, the leftmost lane of Canberra Link, heading in the direction of Sembawang MRT station, will also be closed on May 17 from about 10am for the deployment of a crane. It will open again on May 21.

The 72m-long crossover track, which will be built between Sembawang and the new Canberra station, will allow trains on the North-South Line to cross from one track to another, thereby increasing the resilience of the line, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a statement on Monday (April 8).

"For example, if the northbound track is faulty, affected trains can use the crossover to bypass the faulty stretch by travelling on the southbound track," said the LTA.

The works will be carried out round the clock during the three days and about 110 workers will be involved.

Shuttle buses will be deployed between affected stations. An express bus from Woodlands to the Bukit Panjang Downtown Line MRT station and vice versa will also operate during the three days.

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Mr Chuah Han Leong, LTA's director of rail expansion, said it is not viable to have early closure and late opening of the MRT stations as the works involved have to be done in one continuous process over 72 hours.

On May 18 and 19, trains will turn around at Woodlands and Yishun stations. This will allow workers to remove sections of existing tracks about 40m from the Canberra station platform and install the new crossover track.

Testing and commissioning of the signalling software for the newly installed track sectors will then be carried out on May 20.

The shuttle 10 bus service will serve the route between affected stations when the works are ongoing.

The buses will arrive at the stations every one to three minutes. Meanwhile, the Express 17 bus service will ferry passengers between Woodlands and Bukit Panjang MRT stations. The buses will arrive every five to eight minutes.

Both buses will follow the same fare structure as trains.

About 130 buses are expected to be deployed on the first two days of closures, and 170 buses on the third day. LTA said it will monitor these shuttle bus services and work with public transport operators to ramp up services if needed.

The authority advised commuters travelling along affected sectors to plan their journeys in advance and factor in the additional time needed to transfer between shuttle buses and trains.

Seventy-five per cent of construction works at Canberra station have been completed, and the new station is expected to open by the end of this year.

Works at Canberra station, which include the crossover track, will cost around $90 million.

With the completion of the new crossover track, there will be more than 50 on the North-South and East-West lines.

Canberra is the second MRT station in Singapore to be built on an existing rail line. The first was Dover station on the East-West Line, which opened in 2001.

The LTA said Canberra station is also designed with five entrances, which will facilitate better commuter movement and enhance accessibility.

It will also have covered linkways to bus stops and bicycle parks.

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