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Cross Island Line to Run 70 metres Under Central Catchment Nature Reserve

04 Dec 2019 News Releases

Government Announces Alignment Decision after Six Years of Public Engagement

1.     After in-depth studies of the two underground alignment options (Annex) for the stretch of the Cross Island Line (CRL) in the vicinity of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve (CCNR) and extensive public consultations with various stakeholders, the Government has studied the trade-offs and decided on the direct alignment option which runs 70 metres deep under the CCNR.

Considerations behind the direct alignment decision

2.     In reaching this decision, the Government has considered various factors, including the concerns expressed by all stakeholders and the findings of the comprehensive two-phased Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which was shared with the public in 2016 and 2019. The direct alignment option will benefit Singaporeans in the following ways: 

a)     Reduction in commuting time by approximately 6 minutes per commuter per trip as compared to the skirting alignment; 

b)     Lower public transport fares by about 15% on average due to a shorter and more direct route, made possible under the current distance-based fares; 

c)     Reduction in construction costs by approximately $2 billion for taxpayers; and 

d)     In the longer term, it is a more environmentally-friendly option as the direct alignment has a lower energy consumption.

3.     The CRL is expected to have a daily ridership of more than 600,000 in the initial years, growing to over one million in the longer term. The CRL will be more than 50 kilometres long and have almost half of its stations as interchanges with other train lines, making travelling on the rail network a breeze. For example, east-west commuters can enjoy significant travel time savings of as much as 30 to 45 minuteswhen switching to the CRL. The resilience of the rail network will also be significantly strengthened.

Incorporating feedback from extensive public engagement

4.     Since the CRL was first announced in 2013, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has extensively engaged various stakeholder groups to understand their concerns over its construction and operations. These stakeholders include nature groups, heritage groups, residents and grassroots leaders in the area. To ensure that our surveys are robust, LTA also appointed an internationally acclaimed consultant to conduct a comprehensive two-phased EIA, with involvement from relevant stakeholders such as the nature groups in its formulation and assessment.

5.     Based on feedback from the nature groups, LTA has already committed to adopt the following mitigating measures:

a)     Tunnelling deeper than the typical 20 to 30 metres underground to as deep as 70 metres below average ground level for the 2 kilometres stretch of the direct alignment under the CCNR. This is equivalent to the height of a 25-storey HDB block, making this stretch the deepest rail tunnel in Singapore2. Doing this ensures that tunnelling is fully carried out through hard and competent granite rock, far away from surface flora and fauna, with no surface works in the CCNR.

b)     Locating and optimising the layout of two worksites outside the nature reserve:

i) For the first worksite along Island Club Road, LTA is currently in discussions with Singapore Island Country Club to use a part of their non-playing area to reduce any potential disturbance to nearby flora and fauna; and

ii) The second worksite, which is located on the western edge of the CCNR across from the Pan Island Expressway, will be subject to a future advanced engineering study. LTA is committed to explore ways to further optimise the layout of these worksites to minimise land take and any potential disturbance.

6.     LTA has been and is fully committed to implementing all practicable environmental mitigation measures recommended by the EIA.  We will continue to engage and address feedback from stakeholders during the design and construction phase.

7.     The CRL is Singapore’s eighth MRT line. When completed, it will offer east-west commuters a significantly shorter travel time, and bring us one step closer to our target of having 8 in 10 households within a 10-minute walk of a train station. It will be our longest underground MRT line, spanning from Changi in the east to Jurong Industrial Estate in the west.

8.     LTA deeply appreciates the contributions and feedback from all stakeholders over the past six years. This includes nature groups, heritage groups, residents and grassroots leaders, whose participation has deeply enriched the planning process, and enlarged the common space for civic-minded debate. Together, we were able to share our planning process and have gained many new and valuable insights from those who stepped forward to voice their aspirations and concerns. The journey does not stop here. We want to continue working with you to deliver a well-connected transport network that best serves the needs of Singapore and Singaporeans.


Today, a commuter travelling from Pasir Ris to the Jurong area takes around 90 minutes (via rail and bus). With the CRL, this will only take about 55 minutes, or 35 minutes in time savings.

The typical tunnelling depth for LTA’s rail projects is approximately 20 to 30 metres below average ground level.

MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT