Parts of trails at Telok Blangah Hill Park closed for repair, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Parts of trails at Telok Blangah Hill Park closed for repair

Parts of the trails at Telok Blangah Hill Park have been closed for repairs till July 2026 after a slope failure.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, National Parks Board (NParks) group director for parks Chua Yen Ling said heavy and prolonged rain on Feb 28, 2023 caused a slope failure at the park’s elevated Forest Walk.

The affected parts of the trails closed for public safety and slope repairs include the eastern section of the Forest Walk and Earth Trail.

“The (repair) works are necessary to stabilise the slope and strengthen the foundation of the elevated walkway,” Ms Chua added.

During the closure, park visitors can use an alternative path along Telok Blangah Heights to continue their exploration of the Southern Ridges.

When queried, NParks did not say exactly when the decision to close part of the trails was made. However, an advisory from the agency, stating that a closure for maintenance works would begin on March 1, 2023, can be found online.

A slope failure refers to a collapse or failure of a sloping surface usually due to weakening of underlying materials like soil or rock, said National University of Singapore senior lecturer of geography Muhammad Nawaz.

Heavy rainfall can saturate the soil, destabilising the slope and making it more prone to erosion. He noted that the added weight of water and increased pore pressure within the soil in hilly areas, where slopes are already inclined, can exceed the soil’s strength.

The Straits Times reported in March 2023 that the downpour a month earlier on Feb 28 was the heaviest over the eastern and southern parts of Singapore, with the daily total rainfall of 225.5mm in Kallang the highest on record for the month of February.

Not all slope failures can be considered as landslides, said Dr Nawaz. “While slope failure is a type of movement on a slope, it’s not always classified as a landslide unless it involves significant downward movement of materials,” he added.

To reinforce the slope and prevent further erosion, NParks could employ measures like earthwork and water management by installing drainage systems, said Dr Teo Tee Hui, a senior lecturer in engineering product development at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

He added that NParks can also put in stabilisation structures like anchoring, and install inclinometers to monitor the slope conditions. An inclinometer is an instrument used for measuring angles of slope, elevation, or depression of an object with respect to gravity’s direction.

NParks said it will replant suitable vegetation cover after the slope stabilisation is completed, and that it regularly carries out inspections of areas surrounding slopes within its parks.

It reminded the public to avoid entering parks, nature reserves and forested areas during and immediately after bad weather.

PARKS/NATURE RESERVESnational parks boardBukit Merah