The longest underground and driverless MRT line in Singapore opens its tracks

Celia Choong Celia Choong Senior Marketing Consultant,Singapore
20 October 2017

The opening of Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) completes the third and final phase of the 42km Downtown MRT line that links the north-western and eastern housing estates to the old and new downtowns.

Arup started work on this phase in 2008, developing the alignment design for the entire 21km stretch. Subsequently in 2009, Arup was awarded full detailed design for five stations and 5km of twin tunnels.

After nine years of planning and design alongside the Land Transport Authority, I felt very proud to witness the community take their first journeys on the DTL3. ”

Michael McGowan Michael McGowan Principal | Chief Operating Officer – Australasia
Fisheye view of the escalators Fisheye view of the escalators

The section runs through the historic districts of Bencoolen, Fort Canning, Jalan Besar and the dense neighbourhoods of Geylang Bahru and Bendeemer. These works were constructed within an immensely dense network of existing historical buildings, infrastructure and existing MRT lines.

Bencoolen Station proved to be one of the most challenging parts of the project. The deepest MRT in Singapore at 43m, it was constructed adjacent to the operational underground Circle and North-South Lines, in close proximity to commercial buildings in a heavily built up area. To facilitate the station construction, the entire Bencoolen Street was closed to traffic for several years.

Arup’s global and local rail engineering capability came together to help us anticipate and circumvent a number of technical challenges on DTL3A. This was critical to minimise impact to the many adjacent buildings and the community living in these neighbourhoods. ” Michael McGowan Michael McGowan Principal | Chief Operating Officer – Australasia

Pushing the boundaries of innovation, Arup proposed the use of Steel Fibre Reinforced Concrete (SFRC) lining for the tunnels of DTL3 – the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. This is expected to translate to cost savings during construction, durability in the long term and improved fire safety.

Arup continues to deliver technical excellence on other rail projects in Singapore including the Thomson-East Coast Line and Cross Island Line, playing a part in assisting the Singapore government in achieving their vision of a world class transport system.

Tunnel lit up Tunnel lit up