Thursday, January 8, 2015

Buckled tiles prompt closure of chapel near MRT work site

Ongoing tunnelling work for the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) along Upper Thomson Road appears to have forced the Church of the Holy Spirit to close its chapel indefinitely, after some floor tiles within buckled.

The Catholic church revealed this in a post showing the affected tiles on its Facebook page on Thursday, preceded by another post of pictures of a long crack on the exterior of its building.

"The floor tiles on the left side of our chapel have buckled, possibly due to extensive TEL MRT tunnelling work next to the parish. Some tiles have cracked. For safety reasons, our chapel is closed indefinitely," the post said.

The church, which is more than 50 years old, is located next to the construction site for the Upper Thomson MRT Station.

The contract for the station's construction was awarded to Sato Kogyo Singapore. Work began in the first quarter of last year and it is expected to be completed in 2019.

TODAY saw that the buckled tiles ran along the left side of the chapel during a visit yesterday. There were also some chipped tiles between the pews and loose tiles along the main aisle of the chapel. However, the cracks on the exterior of the church building have been patched up.

Mr Joseph Bong, the church's head of pastoral care for the Sick Ministry, said it discovered the issues about two to three weeks ago. The road beside the chapel was also cracked, but has since been repaired by Sato Kogyo, he said.

Mr Bong added that it is in close contact with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the construction firm. Both have been informed of the problems and have been to the church to take photos, he said.

The three parties have also been meeting monthly since September last year to discuss the effects of the MRT work as well as traffic management, he added.

Mr Bong said he does not feel that the issues are serious and the church will commence repair work soon. It is sourcing for quotations and hopes to reopen the chapel by the middle of the year, he added.