Stringent safety controls in place as work on Canberra MRT station begins
SINGAPORE – Stringent safety controls have been put in place as work begins on the Canberra MRT station, a project the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said would be particularly challenging as it would be built on the existing North-South line unlike most new stations.
LTA’s safety assurance on Saturday came days after a safety lapse near the Pasir Ris MRT station resulted in the death of two maintenance workers, Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24. SMRT said a key safety procedure — to ensure trains do not enter sectors where maintenance workers had to step on the trackway — was not followed in the events leading up to the fatal accident on Tuesday morning.
Canberra station, which will be located between Sembawang and Yishun stations, is only the second to be built on an existing rail line. The first was Dover MRT station, which was built in 2001 on the East-West line.
LTA said in its statement: “Even with prior experience, building a station on an operational line still presents challenges. Firstly, as the work is carried out next to a ‘live’ railway track, detailed risk assessments of every construction activity will have to be carried out and the appropriate safety measures must be taken.
“Secondly, major safety critical works next to the existing tracks are confined to the three to four hours when the trains are not running. To ensure safety when carrying out works close to the ‘live’ railway track, LTA and the contractor will impose stringent control on the works being carried out and coordinate with SMRT for access to the work area.”
As part of the safety procedures, a full scale mock-up of the station column and roof will be installed off-site for the LTA to determine the safest and most effective way to carry out the actual construction onsite.
In addition, while the station’s roof is being built, a temporary protection enclosure will be built to cover and protect the existing railway tracks and trains at the site of the new station.
LTA added that the work processes used in the building of Dover station have been enhanced, stressing that it has implemented a “robust project safety review process for the design and construction phases, and have carried out detailed risk assessments for the Canberra station.”
The Canberra station will serve commuters living in nearby estates such as Sembawang Springs as well as upcoming residential developments in the neighbourhood. It is expected to open in 2019. Commuters in the area who are are travelling towards the city centre of Jurong East can expect to save up to 10 minutes of travel time.