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Branching out

The £530M Changi station line project forms part of Singapore's new North-East mass transit line.It comprises a link, just over 6km long, from the existing East-West line at Tanah Merah station.The first 2km section is elevated, crossing over an existing side spur to the East-West maintenance depot and ending at Singapore's business park area and international exposition ground.

The remaining 4.3km of line is underground, running first in cut and cover and then a 3.5km long bored tunnel to the airport.This is Singapore's longest bored tunnel and is potentially very sensitive, as its twin bores pass directly under one of the two main international runways.

Two Lovat earth pressure balance machines worth £7.7M are being used by Japanese tunnelling contractor Nishimatsu to form the tunnels.The first of two drives has just passed successfully under the runway with almost no settlement, says Michael Thomas, tunnel project manager for the Land Transit Authority.

Hong Kong/British contractor Gammon and partner Balfour Beatty are well advanced on track laying for the overland section, with tunnel track laying due to start in September.

The 20km North-East line from Marina Bay will open in 2002 as a state of the art driverless metro.The line is the first of a series of planned extensions to the city state's transport network being built by the Land Transport Authority.

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