SINGAPORE: Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said that the interest and safety of residents is "paramount" in the canal deepening exercise along Bukit Timah Road.
He said this in Parliament in response to MP Christopher de Souza, who asked if the Public Utilities Board could expedite works near homes.
The widening of the 3.2km diversion canal that diverts water from the Bukit Timah catchment into Sungei Ulu Pandan is expected to reduce the risk of flooding, not only in the Bukit Timah area but also further downstream at the Balmoral, Newton Circus and Rochor areas.
The upgrading is slated to be completed in 2016.
Dr Balakrishnan said: "The first one—third of the canal in fact goes through some heavily residential populated areas...and in fact, there is a part of canal which actually goes underground, so it becomes a tunnel. We had to even move some residents out of their own homes during the construction phase in order to ensure their safety and we, of course, made the appropriate compensation to these residents.
"We will also have the appropriate monitoring equipment in place to ensure that there is no damage to property, or even if there is a risk of that, we detect it early and we address it promptly."
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