Re­think track work with long-term ef­fi­ciency in mind

The Straits Times - - OPINION - Jef­frey Lee Heng Kheng

With the re­cent re­ports on tun­nel flood­ing and dis­rup­tions (Ex­perts call for more mea­sures af­ter MRT dis­rup­tion; Oct 9, and LTA, SMRT should take the blame, by Mr Pa­trick Tan Siong Kuan; Fo­rum On­line, Oct 10), I am con­cerned that the Land Trans­port Au­thor­ity (LTA) and rail op­er­a­tor SMRT will rush into car­ry­ing out any in­tended work.

From pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cles, I un­der­stand that the pumps and equip­ment are in­stalled along and un­der the tracks.

This makes main­te­nance, in­spec­tions and re­pairs fraught with dan­ger and dif­fi­culty.

With more re­dun­dan­cies be­ing planned to com­ple­ment the sys­tem, much more re­sources would be needed for the new main­te­nance regime.

The ques­tion is: Has a cost anal­y­sis been car­ried out, so that com­par­isons can be made to see if other meth­ods of keep­ing wa­ter out of the tun­nel would be more ef­fec­tive, more re­silient and less re­source-in­ten­sive?

Has the LTA or SMRT ex­plored cov­er­ing the short stretch of ex­posed track with some form of shel­ter?

There are many ad­van­tages to hav­ing such a shel­ter.

Rain­wa­ter run-off can be chan­nelled eas­ily into a dis­charge sys­tem.

All equip­ment and main­te­nance work as­so­ci­ated with keep­ing rain out of the tun­nel would also be above track level.

This al­lows all kinds of work to be car­ried out safely and un­hin­dered by train op­er­a­tions.

The track is ex­pected to last well into the next 50 years.

Fac­tors such as long-term ef­fi­ciency and op­ti­mal re­source al­lo­ca­tion should be key con­sid­er­a­tions.

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