Lorry sinks into road
Tipper lorry carrying sand falls into sinkhole at Upper Changi Road East
Just before the sinkhole appeared, he felt the earth move beneath his feet.
"The ground trembled for five minutes," said Mr Razak Ahmad, 51, a security officer at Changi Close.
He thought the tremors were from a nearby construction site.
"I saw a lot of people running towards the construction site and I thought an accident had occurred," he said.
Rushing out of the guardhouse and onto the nearby road, he was shocked to see a tipper lorry partially submerged in a hole about 2m deep.
The accident occurred at Upper Changi Road East yesterday at 8.30am, around the area where there is underground construction for the Downtown Line 3
The driver jumped out of the vehicle, escaping unhurt.
He told The New Paper he was not scared because his lorry was sinking slowly.
Ms Chris Pai, 34, a sales administrator, drove by about 20 minutes after the accident.
She said the lorry was packed with sand and, because of of the accident, traffic had slowed to a crawl.
"It's very scary because I use this road every day and I don't know if it's safe now," she said.
Mr Ram, 32, an accounts admin manager at an international school, was alarmed.
Declining to give his full name, he added: "This poses a great danger for pedestrians and drivers along that road. What if they had fallen in?"
Construction linked to the Downtown Line 3 surrounded the road near Jalan Demak.
Residents nearby said they had alerted authorities to cracks in their ceiling and floor tiles, which they blamed on the construction activities.
They hope the authorities will take measures to ensure the safety of road users and residents.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) does monitor construction sites for the possibility of sinkholes. (See other report.)
In a statement, LTA said two lanes were closed to traffic yesterday while the lorry was recovered. Traffic was also diverted.
It said that reinstatement works were being done.
"LTA is investigating the incident. We will also continue to monitor underground construction works in the surrounding area.
"This incident is not expected to impact the construction progress of the Downtown Line 3."
The Downtown Line 3 is a 2km extension project that will merge with the East-West line and future Eastern Region lines that will run through Marine Parade.
Together with the Cross Island Line and Jurong Regional line, the Eastern Region Line will be completed by 2030.
What if (pedestrians and drivers) had fallen in?
- Mr Ram, 32, an accounts admin manager at an international school
STEPS TO MINIMISE SINKHOLES
Sinkholes can occur naturally or be man-made.
"Sinkholes can occur naturally when earth beneath the surface is eroded, typically by water, resulting in subterranean cavities," Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew told Parliament last year.
Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Gerald Giam had asked Mr Lui last year about excavation works for the MRT Downtown Line and the sinkholes they cause.
Mr Lui said that in the excavation of underground structures, cavities can form when water or fluvial sand leaks into the excavated area.
"If these cavities are not detected and filled up in time, they will eventually cause a sinkhole."
He spelled out steps taken to minimise sinkholes:
- Before any major underground construction, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) investigates ground conditions and ensures that appropriate construction methods are used.
- Instruments are installed to monitor the ground and building settlement at all times.
- LTA monitors the condition of the roads, especially those near excavation sites or where tunnelling works are ongoing, to look out for signs of ground settlement or movement.
- Tunnelling control parameters are strictly followed to ensure safety.
- LTA checks for potholes, cracks and other physical defects on all roads regularly.