Todayonline Aug 6, 2013
Exhumation of Bukit Brown graves to start in Oct
By SIAU MING EN
SINGAPORE — Almost two years after the project was announced, public exhumation of graves at the Bukit Brown Cemetery will begin from October this year to make way for the construction of a new dual four-lane road that connects MacRitchie Viaduct to Adam Flyover.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority said this yesterday, following the award of a tender for the construction of the new road to Swee Hong Limited for S$134.7 million.
The LTA has received 1,263 claims for the affected graves — about a quarter of the total number to be exhumed in place of the new road — and next-of-kin will be contacted to make further arrangements for exhumation.
“Construction of the new road will begin in stages after exhumation of the affected graves is completed,” said the joint statement.
Plans for the new road were announced in September 2011, aimed at easing the peak-hour congestion currently experienced along Lornie Road and the Pan-Island Expressway, as well as to cater to the expected growth in traffic in the area.
The Bukit Brown site has been earmarked for future housing.
The road project sparked off a series of calls from heritage and nature groups to preserve the cemetery, which is about 90 years old.
A working committee, formed in October 2011 to document and research the history behind the cemetery, has completed the documentation of all 4,153 affected graves.
The LTA said it will assess claims on unclaimed graves on a case-by-case basis. Otherwise, the remains would be cremated, the ashes kept by the authority for three years, before they are scattered at sea.
Once the exhumation of the affected graves is completed, construction work for the new road will begin. The road is to be completed by the end of 2017.
“While construction is ongoing, the public can continue to enter other parts of Bukit Brown Cemetery that are not affected by the road construction. Details of the access routes will be made available to the public when construction starts,” said the authorities.