THE GOVERNMENT of Singapore has approved plans to build a fifth metro line, Transport Minister Raymond Lim announced at a Land Transport Authority seminar on April 27. Mostly running underground, the 40 km line is to be built in three phases at a cost of S$12bn, and is due to be completed by 2018.

Stage 1 of the DTL will incorporate the 4·3 km Downtown Extension initially planned as part of the Circle Line now under construction. Running from an interchange with the East-West Line at Bugis to meet the North East Line at Chinatown, it will have six stations serving the Bayfront reclamation zone north of SMRT's Marina Bay terminus. This section is expected to open in 2013.

The 16·6 km Stage 2 will follow by 2015. This will incorporate LTA's proposed Bukit Timah Line, running northwest from Bugis through Little India, Newton and Botanic Gardens to meet the Bukit Panjang LRT. Stage 2 is expected to cut journey times from the Bukit Panjang area to the city centre from over 1 h to under 40 min.

Stage 3 of the DTL will incorporate the northern section of the proposed Eastern Region Line, extending for 19·1 km. Running north from Chinatown, it will pass under Stage 2 near Little India and then run parallel with the EWL through Macpherson and Tampines before terminating at the junction with the Changi Airport branch at Expo.

To improve access to Marina Bay, the Circle Line will be extended to Bayfront by 2012, diverging from the current route to Dhoby Ghaut at Promenade, where an interchange with the DTL will be provided.