CONTRACTS for design and construction of two more ’LRT’ peoplemovers to feed the Singapore metro network were awarded by the island’s Communications Minister Mah Bow Tan in mid-July. The Sengkang and Punggol feeders will be built by a consortium of Singapore Technologies Industrial Corp and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at a cost of S$656m.

The 13 km Punggol line and the 11 km route in Sengkang will start from elevated termini above the underground stations at the outer end of the North East heavy metro line now under construction. There will be direct escalator links to ease the interchange, which will be inside the paid area with no need to pass through fare gates. They are intended to serve two ’model town’ housing developments along the island’s northeast coast.

Mah says awarding the contract during the current economic downturn in the region has enabled the Land Transport Authority to negotiate a competitive price. The two routes average S$30m per km compared to S$35m for the earlier Bukit Panjang feeder now being completed by Adtranz.

Unlike the initial route, which was inserted into an existing development, the northeast feeders will be build as an integral part of the new towns. This means the tracks can be located 15m from the nearest buildings, compared to 8 or 10m at Bukit Panjang. Construction will proceed in parallel with the housing developments, and the two routes are expected to open in 2004. o