SINGAPORE - Construction of the new Stamford Diversion Canal will start in the coming months and eventually help to reduce the Orchard Road shopping belt's risk of floods.
National water agency PUB said yesterday that work will start on the 2km, underground canal between July and September and is expected to be completed in 2017.
Stretching from Tanglin to the Singapore River, it will divert rainwater away from the existing Stamford Canal, which could not cope with heavy rain in several instances in 2010 and 2011, leading to floods in the Orchard area.
PUB said construction will take place in two phases. The first in the Tanglin and Kim Seng areas will be carried out by Or Kim Peow Contractors and cost $50.6 million. A tender for the second phase from Grange Road to River Valley Road has been called.
The construction will mean traffic diversions at a stretch of Grange Road, but the number of lanes will be maintained.
PUB also said it would work with the Land Transport Authority and "ensure that the noise level is kept within allowable limits at all times". Apart from the diversion canal, an underground detention tank will also be completed in 2016 to store rainwater from Holland Road drains. This will help to further reduce Orchard flood risks. Located near the junction of Tyersall Avenue and Tyersall Road, the tank will have a 38,000 cubic metre storage capacity - equal to about 15 Olympic-size swimming pools. Its construction started in December last year. Orchard Road Business Association executive director Steven Goh said the new tank and canal will be a "sustainable and permanent solution".
In the meantime, at least four properties in the area - Lucky Plaza, Tanglin Mall, Forum the Shopping Mall and Liat Towers - have boosted their flood protection via measures such as flood barriers.
"As the canal construction continues, there may be minor inconveniences, especially where it is near the construction site for the Orchard Boulevard MRT station, but we will give feedback to PUB," said Mr Goh.
PUB has drainage projects under way or set to take place at 170 or so locations islandwide.
Director of catchment and waterways Tan Nguan Sen said the measures will help Singapore cope with more intense rainfall.
"We will also continue to work with developers and building owners to slow down the flow of storm water into the public drainage system and to protect the buildings against floods," he said.
This article was first published on May 23, 2014.
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