Cracks in Bt Timah homes near MRT worksite

Cracks in Bt Timah homes near MRT worksite

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has started temporary work to fix damage to several houses in Bukit Timah's Watten Estate, believed to be linked to nearby construction of the Downtown Line.
Residents of the terraced and semi-detached houses across from the site of the upcoming Tan Kah Kee MRT station said they began noticing hairline cracks in walls inside and outside their homes one to two months ago.

They complained when the cracks began widening in recent weeks. At least 40 homes in the upscale neighbourhood, where home prices start in the millions, are believed to be affected.

The LTA told The Sunday Times that following the complaints, it checked the houses together with an independent engineer and found them to be structurally safe.

Last week, it carried out interim works to prop up car-porch roofs and shifting walls, and helped some residents move gates that could no longer open.

"LTA and our contractor will continue to monitor the situation very closely and ensure the houses remain safe," its spokesman told The Sunday Times.

"When the basic structural works are completed at the MRT station worksite, expected to be around end-2013, LTA and the relevant agencies will repair the cracks."

The LTA said that it was also taking action to stabilise the ground in the area.

The area's Member of Parliament, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, also visited some of the affected homes yesterday evening and spoke with about 50 residents.

The sinking and cracking are related to water seeping out of the underlying soil, residents recounted later.
They said Mr Lui told them that this is not common, but had happened before, in Arab Street.

In 2004, shophouse owners there noticed cracks on their walls.

Residents said Mr Lui also told them that he had asked the LTA to write to them to confirm that their houses were safe, and to visit periodically to make certain that this remained so.

Source: The Straits Times – 16 September 2012