Thursday 18 October 2012

LTA to install railway noise barriers at Tampines, Jurong East and Toh Guan

Study on train noise complete
By Royston Sim, The Straits Times, 17 Oct 2012

PEOPLE who live close to MRT tracks and have to put up with noise can expect some respite.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has completed an islandwide study and will announce measures to reduce noise from the trains early next year.

The study, which began in September last year and lasted about a year, covered all elevated MRT tracks and 455 blocks of flats near the tracks.

Yesterday, the LTA said it has awarded a $5 million contract to CKT Thomas to construct three noise barriers in Tampines, Jurong East and Toh Guan.

It added that the study, by consultancy Vipac, has identified several locations along MRT tracks that experience high noise levels and need "special attention".

The LTA will use the findings to determine appropriate measures. Its plan will focus on stretches of tracks close to residential units.

It acknowledged that some people living close to elevated tracks may experience higher noise levels due to an ageing network and trains running at greater frequencies.

There are elevated tracks along the North-South and East-West lines run by SMRT.

The LTA said it will continue to work with SMRT to "tighten the maintenance regime of the train fleet and tracks to minimise noise".

The authority had earlier installed noise barriers in Bishan and Jurong East. It said these have cut noise from passing trains by at least five decibels, measured from the nearest residential block.

National Environment Agency regulations stipulate that train noise should not exceed an average of 67 decibels - the equivalent of noise in a supermarket or soft music - over a one-hour period measured at the facade of a block of flats.

The noise level when trains pass by a residential block can exceed 80 decibels - the equivalent of loud music being played.

In March, the LTA unveiled plans to install similar 1.8m-high barriers in Tampines Street 21 next to Block 269, and in Jurong East Street 13 next to Block 110. These are expected to be put up in a year and reduce noise from passing trains by five decibels.

A 150m-long, 4.5m-high noise barrier will also be installed at a track turnout next to Block 266 in Toh Guan Road.

Turnouts are where two separate tracks merge for trains to be diverted from one track to another. This barrier will take about 11/2 years to install and should reduce noise by up to 10 decibels.

The LTA said installing noise barriers is complex as it can be done only within a three-hour window when trains are off-service. Work also has to be coordinated with SMRT's ongoing resignalling and sleeper-replacement projects.

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