ASIA: Construction of the Singapore end of the cross-border metro line to Malaysia has been launched with a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the future Woodlands North terminus.
The opening of the Johor Bahru – Singapore Rapid Transit System Link is planned for the end of 2026, providing a 5 min journey time between Woodlands North and the Malaysian terminus at Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru.
Customs, immigration and quarantine facilities will be co-located at the stations, with passengers only needing to clear the immigration procedures at their point of departure.
‘Since its genesis, the RTS Link has been envisaged as an infrastructure project that will benefit many generations of Singaporeans and Malaysians’, Singapore’s Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung said at the groundbeaking ceremony on January 22. ‘While the RTS Link is a short service — two stations, 4 km long — its economic and social benefits are very significant.’
The causeway between Singapore and Malaysia was one of the busiest land border crossings in the world before the coronavirus pandemic, ‘with close to 300 000 commuters crossing it daily to and fro’, he said. ‘The causeway may be empty today, but Covid-19 will pass, travel restrictions will be lifted, and the commuters will return.
‘The RTS Link will offer an alternative that is attractive in terms of cost and time for cross-border travel and promises to be a game-changer in easing congestion at the causeway. With a capacity of up to 10 000 commuters per hour per direction, the RTS Link can potentially shift thousands of motorcycles and cars off the causeway, while providing a faster and more comfortable commute.’
The first of two civil contracts for the Singapore part of the project was awarded to Penta-Ocean Construction Co at the end of 2020.
This covers the RTS Link Woodlands North station, tunnels and the border facilities building in Singapore.
The three-story underground station will reach a maximum depth of 28 m, and will be around 10 times the size of a typical Singapore metro station. The ground conditions are expected to be challenging, with granite rock requiring the use of high-capacity drilling machines, extended piling works and rock demolition. This must take place near to an operational station and live utilities.
The second civil contract covering construction of the 25 m high viaduct across the Straits of Johor is expected to be awarded in Q1 2021.