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Commuters and cyclists will benefit from North-South Corridor

LTA and URA's reply, 13 Mar 2018

We thank Mr Michael Lum Yan Meng for his feedback (Government should rethink North-South Corridor; Feb 20).

The North-South Corridor (NSC) is necessary, given the growing number of residents living in the northern and north-eastern parts of Singapore and their daily commute.

The NSC was originally conceived as an expressway, but has been redesigned as Singapore's first integrated transport corridor, featuring dedicated bus lanes and cycling trunk routes.

Commuters will benefit from faster bus journeys and express bus services. Cyclists will also benefit from the dedicated cycling trunk routes into the city, while pedestrians will enjoy wide and shaded walking paths along the corridor.

The Government recognises the importance of protecting and preserving our heritage and history. We thus conducted extensive studies from 2016, including consulting conservation specialists, engineering consultants and heritage groups, to see how best to minimise impact on the Ellison Building, which will have one of its nine units affected.

While it was not possible to completely avoid the building in the construction of the NSC, the revised plan will retain the most prominent parts of the affected unit like its rooftop cupola and most of its facade. After the NSC tunnelling works are completed, the affected part will be reconstructed and historic elements from the building reinstated.

We have done our best to minimise the impact on Ellison Building and believe this approach strikes a balance between developing new infrastructure that benefits a large number of Singaporeans and conserving our built heritage.

Yap Cheng Chwee
Group Director, North-South Corridor
Land Transport Authority

Chou Mei (Ms)
Group Director,
Conservation and Urban Design
Urban Redevelopment Authority

Letter, 20 Feb 2018, Straits Times

Govt should rethink North-South Corridor

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) say its revised plan seeks to maximise the retention of the Ellison Building with the construction of the North-South Corridor (Bigger portion of conserved Ellison Building to be kept; Feb 14).

The idea for the North-South Expressway, now known as the North-South Corridor (NSC), came about in 2011 (North-South Expressway to ease CTE congestion; Jan 20, 2011). Covering a distance of 21.5km, it is due to be completed in 2026.

Many years after the expressway was conceptualised, we have to revisit and rethink.

Is the NSC viable and does it serve its purpose, especially after a decade of massive change in technology, climate change and socio-economic shifts in mindset?

My heart grieves whenever I think of the red-brick National Library building, which was demolished for the tunnel at Fort Canning Link.

Is history repeating itself?

Part of the Ellison Building will be demolished and reconstructed to facilitate the safe access of machinery.

Built in 1924 by a Romanian Jew, the Ellison Building is best left in the original condition.

The building will never be the same again if part of it is torn down and rebuilt.

Building the NSC also goes against the grain of the current push towards a car-lite Singapore, not to mention the impact more vehicles will have on the environment.

I strongly urge the authorities to go back to the drawing board and restrategise.

Without a doubt, there are better alternatives than the NSC.

Abandoning the NSC project will not result in a black mark for Singapore.

Rather, it will be seen as a meaningful and humanistic response to changing times.

Michael Lum Yan Meng