Cross Island Line: Upper Thomson residents breathe a sigh of relief

An aerial view of the private estates in the Upper Thomson area, including the areas around Yew Lian Park. PHOTO: ST FILE

For the past few years, Mr Sangameswaran, the president of Yew Lian Park Residents' Association, and around 230 households in the Upper Thomson estate have been stressed about the possibility of the Cross Island Line (CRL) being built underneath their homes.

So there was a collective sigh of relief yesterday when the Government announced it would build the new MRT line under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve instead.

"If the skirting option was chosen, a few houses would have been affected... we were fighting it all out," said the 73-year-old, who goes by one name. "Obviously, our residents are now extremely happy the line will not skirt around the Central Catchment."

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had said previously - without providing details - that if the option to go around the nature reserve was accepted, underground tunnels would go through homes, businesses and buildings, and acquisition might be needed.

Yew Lian Park residents were, therefore, among the many in the area who welcomed yesterday's news that the authorities had chosen the direct alignment for the CRL.

The alternative would have been to build the MRT line around the nature reserve and beneath a swathe of private homes near Upper Thomson Road, such as Yew Lian Park and Windsor Park.

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Chong Kee Hiong said residents had met the Ministry of Transport and LTA on various occasions to voice their concerns.

"I think for most of the residents, their pressing concern was the acquisition of property and how the construction would affect their property structure," he told reporters yesterday.

"We all know that sometimes there are cracks that may or may not be related to construction, but people are worried about that."

He said residents had concerns at the same time about the impact of direct alignment on the environment, but these were assuaged after they learnt the mitigating measures that would be taken, including tunnelling 70m below ground.

Some residents were also worried about the inconvenience of MRT construction in such close proximity to their homes.

Yew Lian Park resident Daniel Yeo, 46, said the final call on the direct alignment was "the correct decision".

He said: "I would like nature lovers to take a step back and reassess their priorities.

"Singapore is a small place and, of course, we need to (protect) our natural resources, but let's have our priorities right and put our citizens first."

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2019, with the headline Cross Island Line: Upper Thomson residents breathe a sigh of relief. Subscribe