Road through cemetery 'least impactful option'

ST News
Nov 6, 2011

Road through cemetery 'least impactful option'

By Royston Sim

The Government could not consult the public on its road-building plans for Bukit Brown because it could lead to price speculation on local properties, said Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin.

And it was a decision that took the authorities three years to arrive at, as it sought to find the least impactful way of dealing with increasing traffic congestion in Lornie Road, said Mr Tan.

One option was to expand Lornie Road, but that was ruled out, as cutting away trees for the widening would disrupt the ecological balance of MacRitchie nature reserve, he said.

Tunnels were a no-go as well, as building one using a cut-and-cover method would cause more damage than a surface road.

And tunnel-boring, the method used to construct MRT tunnels, has never been done on such a large scale here.

As for a viaduct, a stable platform would have to be built below before the structure could be constructed.

The cemetery would thus still be affected even if a viaduct was constructed in place of a new road.

The widening of Lornie Road in 2009 was a temporary measure before the authorities settled on a more permanent solution, Mr Tan said.

He noted that apart from Lornie Road, which has seven lanes, all other roads on the Outer Ring Road, a network around the city, have been expanded to dual four-lane carriageways.

The Land Transport Authority said there are between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicles an hour now using Lornie Road during peak hours. Traffic is expected to increase by between 20 and 30 per cent by 2020.