LTA awards $758m contract to build MRT tunnel under Central Catchment Nature Reserve


The Cross Island Line (CRL) is a future high-capacity underground MRT line currently under construction. With the first phase of the line scheduled to open by 2030, it will be the eighth MRT line in Singapore, employing a fully automated and driverless mode of operation. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has also announced the alignment and station locations of the Cross Island Line Phase 2 (CRL2) from Bright Hill to Jurong Lake District. Recently, LTA awarded a $758 million contract to design and build a 5km tunnel for the second phase of the Cross Island MRT Line (CRL).

About the new contract for CRL2

LTA awarded the contract to a joint venture between Obayashi Corp and Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co (Singapore) will construct the 5km tunnel between Fairways Drive and Sin Ming Walk.2km of which will pass beneath the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

Since the joint venture will be constructing the tunnel under a nature reserve, all measures to mitigate the project’s environmental impact will be carried out. These include reducing or relocating CRL construction sites that are close to ecologically sensitive areas. Stakeholders, including nature groups, will be engaged when construction is under way.

About the CRL

The CRL is Singapore’s eighth and longest fully underground MRT line at more than 50 kilometers long. It will serve existing and future developments in the eastern, north-eastern, and western corridors, linking major hubs such as Jurong Lake District, Punggol Digital District, and Changi. Almost half of the CRL stations are interchange stations, making it easier and more convenient for commuters to travel across the rail network.

Simultaneously, LTA is working on the expansion of other rail lines in Singapore. On 17 August 2022, the Land Transport Authority handed over the stations to SMRT, marking the completion of all civil and structural works, as well as systems integration and testing activities. 

The third stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line started passenger services in November 2022. Singapore terminus of Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) is directly connected to the Woodlands North station of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), operated by SMRT.

Commenting on the same, SMRT CEO, Ngien Hoon Ping, said: “Going forward, our rail network will continue to expand with the progressive opening of Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) and with Circle Line (CCL) Stage 6, which will make CCL a complete circle. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our energy efficiency and reduce our impact on the environment. That’s why we invest in and co-develop smarter, cleaner, and greener systems.

The joint venture companies – Obayashi and Shanghai Tunnel Engineering are currently involved in different projects. Obayashi was involved in building Dhoby Ghaut station along the North East Line (NEL), while Shanghai Tunnel Engineering is currently involved in the construction of Katong Park and Bayshore stations along the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).


The 5km tunnel for the second phase of the Cross Island MRT Line (CRL) will be constructed soon, 2km of which will pass beneath the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The companies designing the tunnel will preserve the nature reserve. LTA has also given out a separate $496 million contract for the Punggol interchange station under the CRL Punggol extension. Construction works for both projects are expected to start in the first half of 2023.

About the Author

Winston Hong

Winston is a Technology Development Director at a leading train manufacturing facility in Germany. In his free time, he loves to share his views on new technologies used in train systems. He also likes to research how to implement machine learning and artificial intelligence in railway systems.