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New green corridor to connect Singapore's three national gardens

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A new green corridor will connect Singapore's three national gardens when it is completed in the coming years, if plans to plug a gap in Singapore's green links come to fruition.

[SINGAPORE] A new green corridor will connect Singapore's three national gardens when it is completed in the coming years, if plans to plug a gap in Singapore's green links come to fruition.

The 11km Bukit Timah-Rochor Green Corridor, which will run parallel to the Bukit Timah Canal, will give cyclists and pedestrians an unencumbered path between Jurong Lake Gardens, the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay.

Construction for the first phase, a 1.4km elevated linear park that will lie above the canal between Bukit Timah and Dunearn Road, will begin in 2021. There are plans for it to be extended to Kallang Riverside Park in the future.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced this along with updated plans for the Rail Corridor's key Bukit Timah Railway Station community node at a community event at the station on Saturday.

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"The land around the canal is drainage reserve. There's not a lot of land around there to build a nice green park," he said, noting that the elevated sky park is a way of optimising space in a compact city.

Extending the corridor to Kallang will connect Singapore's three national gardens, said Mr Wong, who is also Second Minister for Finance.

"Taken together, all of these new green developments will enable Singaporeans to experience and explore our little island in exciting ways. You can enjoy the rich heritage and biodiversity of the rail corridor, and then from this major spine, branch off to explore other recreational connections."

The first phase of the Bukit Timah-Rochor Green Corridor will connect to existing overhead bridges as well as the Rail Corridor near the Bukit Timah Railway Station node.

An orchard featuring cempedak, binjai and other fruit trees, amenities such as toilets and bicycle racks and a heritage gallery housed in the conserved railway station are among plans for the node.

The station, which has fallen into disrepair, will be restored along with the tracks, truss bridges and other rail artefacts.

The nearby staff quarters will have a heritage garden, and may house a small food and beverage establishment in the future.

Works to restore both buildings will be done in accordance with conservation guidelines, the National Parks Board (NParks) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) development said.

The 24km Rail Corridor, a continuous green stretch that runs from Woodlands in the North to Tanjong Pagar in the South, lies along a former railway line used for commuting and transporting goods between Singapore and the rest of the Malay peninsula.

While trail improvement and other works to enhance a central 4km stretch of the corridor began last year, the Bukit Timah Railway Station node will be the first of several planned waystations along the route to begin works early next year.

The 1930s station along the former KTM railway line has not been used since 2011, when the railway was decommissioned.

With most of the tracks and railway equipment along the Rail Corridor having been removed as part of a land swop agreement with Malaysia, the remaining tracks and steel truss bridges surrounding the former Bukit Timah station have made it a popular photo spot for visitors.

The southern half of the corridor, currently closed for pipe laying works by PUB, will be progressively reopened by next year.

The Rail Corridor is expected to be fully accessible by 2021, when trail improvement works are completed.

THE STRAITS TIMES