Fellow Advisers, Back
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. A very good morning to all. Today, we mark the start of construction for our seventh MRT Line – the Jurong Region Line. We will also witness the hoisting of one of the first segments of the JRL viaduct. This comes after more than three years of preparatory works, involving excavation, piling, utility diversions, and more. With this, we are one step closer to enhancing the connectivity and environmental sustainability of our land transport network.
Enhancing connectivity in the west and north-west
2. When fully opened in 2029, JRL will add 24 train stations to our MRT network, including four stations which will serve the residential developments being built here in Tengah. JRL will bring 60,000 more households to within a 10-minute walk of a train station and enhance public transport connectivity for residents in the west and north-west. For example, a student commuting from Choa Chu Kang to Nanyang Technological University by public transport will see her travel time shaved by close to half, from 60 minutes to 35 minutes.
3. JRL will also make it easier to travel to commercial and industrial nodes such as Jurong Industrial Estate and Jurong Innovation District. In particular, by connecting residents in the west and north-west to Jurong Lake District, JRL will further support the development of Jurong Lake District as Singapore’s largest business district outside of the central area.
Building a sustainable land transport system
4. With lines such as the JRL bringing our MRT network closer to homes and workplaces, I encourage more Singaporeans to use public transport. Compared to driving an internal combustion engine car, taking the MRT reduces our carbon footprint by almost 90 per cent. A higher public transport modal share will therefore go a long way in making our land transport system more environmentally sustainable. It will also contribute to the Singapore Green Plan vision.
5. In fact, sustainability was a key consideration in designing the JRL. All JRL stations will be fitted with solar panels, to generate renewable energy for station operations. The stations have also been designed to allow crossflow natural ventilation, to reduce energy usage from fans and air-conditioning. As for JRL trains, they will be equipped with sensors to automatically dim lights during the day. Like existing MRT lines, JRL will also adopt a regenerative braking system which uses energy produced by trains during braking to power nearby trains or stations.
Challenges in JRL construction
6. Many of the benefits which JRL will bring stem from its proximity to key residential and activity nodes. However, constructing JRL through such a densely developed corridor poses stiff challenges.
a. First, at the interchange stations of Boon Lay, Choa Chu Kang, and Jurong East, some existing station structures will need to be demolished and strengthened. These are busy stations used by many commuters daily. To minimise disruptions to current station operations and commuters, construction activities have been carefully staged. Virtual reality technologies have also been used to optimise station layouts and ensure seamless commuter flow.
b. Second, parts of the JRL viaduct are being constructed over busy roads or close to existing buildings such as HDB blocks. For some segments of the viaduct, I understand this will be as close as 10 to 15 meters. To ensure that construction is carried out safely, technologies such as Virtual Design and Construction are being used to support detailed planning. In addition, drones and automated instruments, such as 3D scanners, are being deployed for real time monitoring of progress for key segments of construction.
c. Third, sections of the JRL viaduct have tight curves. To ensure that JRL trains have sufficient manoeuvrability to negotiate these curves, JRL trains will have slightly smaller carriages. For example, compared to Circle Line train carriages, each JRL train carriage will be 5 meters shorter in length and 0.45 meters narrower in width. Notwithstanding these slightly smaller carriages, JRL will be able to meet long term ridership demands, of more than 500,000 a day, when surrounding developments are fully realised.
7. There is much to be done, and today marks an important first step. This project is an effort that involves many parties. I would like to thank all the engineers, contractors and LTA staff for their hard work, and for soldiering on through the disruptions caused by Covid-19 over the last few years.
8. As we work to complete the JRL, there will inevitably be some short-term inconveniences to the surrounding community. I am glad that so many of our Advisers have joined us today. We will work with you to minimise such disruptions; measures such as strict vibration and noise limits, and conducting works affecting busy roads only late at night, have been put in place. We will work with all stakeholders to do our best to minimise the inconveniences. I thank the Advisers, residents, businesses and stakeholders for your support and understanding as we work to bring the MRT network closer to you.
9. Thank you, and I look forward to riding the JRL with you in 2027.