BY LEE JIAN XUAN, Straits Times

WORK on the new MRT station between Yishun and Sembawang stations will start in the middle of next year, and residents there can expect to start using it in 2019 when it is completed.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that the Canberra MRT station will be located along Canberra Link and serve commuters living in nearby estates such as Sembawang Springs, as well as new public and private residences.

Currently, residents in the area have to take a bus to get onto the MRT network at either Sembawang or Yishun station.

“With this direct connection to the MRT network, residents travelling towards the city centre or Jurong East will enjoy time savings of up to 10 minutes,” the LTA said.

Canberra will also be the second MRT station in Singapore to be built on an existing rail line – the first was Dover station, which opened on the East-West line in 2001.

While building the station on an existing line will be “challenging” due to constraints on working hours and space, the LTA said it will prioritise the safety of MRT operations and site secu-rity.

The new station will have a sky bridge built across Canberra Link to allow commuters to bypass the station’s concourse level and get direct access to the city-bound train platform.

Residents there are hoping that the new station will help relieve crowds at existing stations.

For accountant James Lim, 29, who lives in an HDB flat in Montreal Link, the Canberra station will be closer than Sembawang station to his home. He said: “It’ll make my place more accessible for friends to visit.”

A committee member of the Holy Tree Sri Balasubramaniar temple, Mr Y. Ramalengam, 64, said the new station would benefit worshippers living in Sembawang.

“Most of them now take a bus from Sembawang to Yishun, before changing to another bus service to get to the temple. So this will be more convenient,” said Mr Ramalengam, who sees about 600 to 800 worshippers at the temple during peak days.

The new station will benefit at least 10,000 residents, said Nee Soon GRC MP Lim Wee Kiak.

But residents will have to bear with the inconvenience and noise of construction, he added.

“The station will provide convenience for all residents, especially those with long travelling times now… we should look forward to the long-term benefits,” said Dr Lim.

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