About 100 evacuated from Little India buildings due to tremors from MRT construction

SINGAPORE - Some 100 people were evacuated from buildings in Little India after they felt the ground shake on Monday (Sept 14) afternoon.

Occupants of buildings along Bukit Timah Road, including Rex House and Boon Siew Building, felt the tremors at around 2pm.

About 100 people left the buildings and gathered in a nearby field for around half an hour, Shin Min Daily News reported.

The tremors are believed to be caused by works related to the construction of the Downtown Line 2. There is a work site for the MRT line opposite the buildings affected.

According to one of those affected, there have been mild vibrations recently, but the shaking was so violent on Monday that it got everyone worried.

"The aircon vents and glass doors could not stop shaking ," she told Shin Min.

Works appear to have stopped at the construction site shortly after people were evacuated.

When contacted, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) told The Straits Times that reinstatement works for Rochor Canal involve machinery that cause vibrations in the ground.

To facilitate the construction of Downtown Line 2, LTA had decked over parts of the Rochor canal since 2010.

As the construction of the line has completed, the canal is being restored. These works are expected to complete before November this year.

"LTA has taken all precautions to ensure that these works are kept within allowable limits and do not affect the structural integrity of the buildings around the area," it said, adding that building owners were informed before works started last month.

"We will continue to monitor the works closely, and we seek the public's understanding during this final phase of the works before DTL2 commences service in December this year," LTA said.

The 12 stations that comprise Stage 2 of the Downtown Line will open on Dec 27, half a year ahead of schedule.

It runs through Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, to the city, and will have three interchange stations at Little India, Newton and Botanic Gardens.

This article was first published on September 15 2015.
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