Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) is close to awarding contracts for repairs to the 10-year old S$300M (US$172M) Central Expressway tunnels. The work should start in September and will be done mostly at night.

The decision to repair the tunnels follows the discovery during routine inspections of about 1,000 hairline cracks through which water is seeping.

The LTA believed water is able to penetrate because of small holes in the 2mm thick plastic membrane used to waterproof the 1.7km Chin Swee tunnel and the 700m long Kampong Java tunnel.

About half of the leaks are at construction joints, said Margarita Loh, manager of LTA’s bridge management department.

LTA manager for civils and structures Paul Fok said: "It’s impossible to lay so much of the thin membrane without breaking it. Holes could be caused by wear and tear."