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THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) will put out a tender on Wednesday to appoint a specialist for site investigation (SI) works for the direct alignment option of the Cross Island Line (CRL), it said.
The works are expected to start in Q4 2016.
In a separate statement, the National Parks Board (NParks) said that it had given its approval for the LTA to go ahead with this round of site investigation works in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
These works come in addition to the SI works for the skirting alignment option which started last month.
"Both alignment options are being studied and site investigations are essential to help LTA assess their engineering feasibility," LTA said.
The findings from the SI works will provide it with detailed information on the underground soil conditions, LTA added.
The findings will also be used as inputs to the second phase of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will assess the impact of construction and operations for the two possible CRL alignments - the direct option and the skirting one.
"Only after the SI works, phase 2 of the EIA, and taking into account various concerns and considerations, will the government take a decision on the alignment," LTA said.
To reduce the environmental impact of the SI works on the reserve, LTA said that it will be implementing a set of mitigating measures that were outlined in the first phase of the EIA report.
LTA will also be implementing an additional set of mitigating measures, after having further discussions with nature groups and NParks.
Chew Men Leong, chief executive of LTA, said: "LTA understands the sensitivity of the SI works, and will work with NParks and the nature groups closely to ensure that all mitigating measures are rigorously implemented."