JB-Singapore RTS Link on track for end-2026 target – SG construction reaches halfway mark, MY one third
Here’s an update on the Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link, which will connect Bukit Chagar in JB to Woodlands in the republic. According to CNA, the project is on track to be completed by end-2026 and construction on the Singapore side has reached the halfway mark.
Singapore transport minister S Iswaran commented on the progress in JB yesterday during a working visit to the RTS Link Project Marine Viaduct site in JB. As for the Malaysian side of the construction, transport minister Anthony Loke said that it’s around one third.
“Work on the Singapore side of the RTS Link is progressing well. And we have completed about 50% of civil construction works for both the overall railway infrastructure and marine viaduct. In short, based on the progress that we have achieved on both sides, we expect to be ready on time for commencing passenger services by the end of 2026,” Iswaran said.
He added that the next big milestone for the RTS project is the “drop-in span bridge” connecting both sides of the viaduct, and that event will be commemorated by the prime ministers of both countries early next year.
Meanwhile, Loke said that Malaysia is confident of completing the project by December 2026. “As of April 30, the overall progress of the railway infrastructure (on the Malaysia side) has reached 36%, which is one-third of the project. For the marine viaduct portion, where we are visiting today, the actual progress is 30%,” he said.
To recap, the RTS Link is a cross-border rail service with a large capacity of up to 10,000 passengers per hour per direction, and a journey time of about five minutes between Bukit Chagar and Woodlands stations. The project is now on the final straight after many stop twists and turns. Here’s a brief recap of the tumultuous journey.
In July 2021, then prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong met at the Causeway for a signing ceremony that marked the official resumption of the RTS Link project. Launched in 2018, RTS construction was scheduled to start in 2019 and slated for completion by December 2024. However, it was suspended in April 2019 at Malaysia’s request as the Pakatan Harapan administration reviewed all big projects.
In its current form, the RTS project differs from the original plan. While the 10k passengers per hour capacity remains, the line will no longer leverage the Thomson-East Coast (TEL) MRT Line in Singapore. Instead, it will be a standalone LRT system. Also, instead of the TEL’s Mandai Depot, a new depot will be built in Wadi Hana, JB.
It will continue to feature co-location of CIQ facilities, so that passengers undergo clearance only once, at their point of departure. Each government has separately appointed an infrastructure company to fund, build, own, maintain and renew the civil infrastructure and stations in its territory up to the international boundary.
In 2021, it was reported that Malaysia’s portion of the RTS cost of RM3.7 billion, and it will include construction of the Bukit Chagar station and four-storey CIQ complex, the Wadi Hana depot, and viaducts through the JB city centre and over the Straits of Johor to the Malaysia-Singapore border. The Bukit Chagar hub will be a transit-oriented development with mixed property development and duty-free shops.
Ground breaking took place in November 2020 to mark the start of construction, while the grantor agreement was signed by both countries in November 2021.
Article Credits: paultan.org