Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

April 30, 2008

Stage 3 of Circle Line set for Nov completion

Filed under: 1 — Propertymarketupdates @ 3:42 am

CONSTRUCTION of Stage 3 of the MRT Circle Line – a 5km, five-stop section linking Bartley and Marymount – will be completed as early as November.

The section, which will open for service in June next year, has entered a ‘testing and commissioning’ phase. This involves putting the system and infrastructure through tests and dry runs before it is handed over to the operator for trial runs.

Operator SMRT Corp said that it is assisting the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in the testing and commissioning, and ‘progress has been good’.

Its spokesman added that the company was already running and maintaining the Kim Chuan Depot, where the Circle Line’s driverless trains are parked. The depot is also the site of the line’s operations control centre.

About 140 people have so far been hired, specifically for Stage 3 of the line and the Kim Chuan Depot, the spokesman said.

The Straits Times understands that the station nearest completion is Serangoon, an interchange station which joins a North-East Line station of the same name.

This station has the longest travellators in the entire MRT network. At 73m, they are about 20m longer than those in the Dhoby Ghaut interchange and the Changi Airport station, said the LTA.

Although Circle Line Stage 3 has only five stops – Marymount, Bishan, Lorong Chuan, Serangoon and Bartley – it is expected to be a boon to residents in the area.

For instance, those living in Serangoon will take only 25 minutes to get to Yishun if they change trains at Bishan, also an interchange station.

The alternative is to take a 45-minute bus ride or take the North-East Line to Dhoby Ghaut before transferring to the North-South Line.

Residents can also look forward to a new transport hub coming up at the Serangoon station. Like those in Toa Payoh and Ang Mo Kio, the Serangoon station will be connected to a bus interchange, so transfers from bus to train or vice versa can be done in air-conditioned comfort.

Property investment group Pramerica, which is planning a mega mall on 269,180 sq ft of land above the Serangoon station, is building the transport hub.

While things seem to be on track at Stage 3, sources said contractors and the LTA are still working to resolve the budget overruns triggered by the escalating cost of raw materials like concrete and steel.

‘Prices are rising practically every month,” an industry source said.

High-tensile steel, for instance, is now close to $1,400 per tonne, up from $1,235 in January and $753 in January last year.

Already, one contractor, Sweden’s NCC International, is embroiled in a legal tussle with the LTA over stalled Circle Line works.

Last year, when NCC stopped work at the Tai Seng and MacPherson stations, the LTA had to appoint local firm Chye Joo Construction to finish the project.

Both parties have opted for arbitration, a closed-door court process, to settle the dispute over costs. It is believed to be the LTA’s first arbitration case in over 20 years.

The process has not started because NCC is fighting to have foreign arbiters appointed, sources said.

Source : Straits Times – 23 Apr 2008

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