The decision has been sparked by Singapore’s shift towards a car-light society.
The Singapore Underground Road System (SURS) was conceptualised in the late 1980s as a 15km long underground arterial ring road system around the fringe of the city. Land along the SURS alignment was safeguarded in 1993.
Enhancements to the public transport network and changes in land use policies have removed the need for SURS, said the Singapore government.
The city centre is well-served by a comprehensive public transport network and the full opening of the Downtown Line this year will further improve connectivity, especially for commuters travelling from the north-western and eastern regions of the island to the Central Business District (CBD) and Marina Bay areas.
When completed in 2024, the Thomson-East Coast Line will connect commuters in the northern and eastern parts of Singapore to the heart of the city, while Circle Line Stage 6 will close the loop for the Circle Line by around 2025. “By 2030, our rail network will be 360km long, and more than 90 per cent of developments in the CBD will be within a five-minute walk to an MRT station,” said the government.
As part of a ‘polycentric’ development strategy, the government has also been growing more commercial centres in different regions outside the city. This brings employment and amenities closer to homes, thereby reducing the need for travel into and out of the city centre.
With the SURS no longer needed, land which had been safeguarded for SURS will be ‘de-safeguarded’, giving previously affected land owners greater flexibility in their development plans.