Ground broken on Johor Bahru, new rapid transit system link in Singapore


The Land Transport Authority (LTR) of Singapore had broken ground on Johor Bahru – Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link in the city-state, with the ceremony held at the RTS Link Woodlands North station site.

With a capacity of 10,000 passengers per hour in each direction, the rail shuttle service stretches 4km between the Singapore terminus at Woodlands North station and the Malaysia terminus at Bukit Chagar station in Johor Bahru.

The fast and seamless travel between Singapore and Johor Bahru on the RTS Link is claimed to be around 5 minutes.

The Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities of Singapore and Malaysia will also be co-located at Woodlands North and Bukit Chagar stations, meaning that the passengers only need to clear the immigration authorities once, i.e. at their point of departure.

Expected to begin services by the end of 2026, the RTS link could be a game changer, significantly improving connectivity between Singapore and Johor Bahru by easing congestion along the Causeway.

LTR awarded the first of the two civil contracts for the construction of the RTS Link to Penta-Ocean Construction. The contract includes the construction of the RTS Link Woodlands North station, tunnels and the CIQ building in Singapore.

The second contract will include the construction of the RTS Link viaduct and is expected to be awarded in the first quarter of 2021.

The RTS Link Woodlands North Station will be built underground at a depth of 28m (maximum). With three stories and two basement levels, the station will be connected with the CIQ building through an underground linkway.

LTR further claimed that the Woodlands North Station and CIQ buildings will be about 10 times the size of a typical mass rapid transit (MRT) station.

The two buildings will be located next to Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) Woodlands North MRT station and will be connected via an underground concourse. The tunnels will be connected to the viaduct crossing the Straits of Johor at a height of 25m.

As per LTR, ground conditions at the site could be challenging as there is granite underneath. Hence, the use of high-capacity drilling machines, extended piling works along with rock demolition could be implemented during the excavation works.

Moreover, the construction activities will take place near an operational MRT station and ‘live’ utilities. Therefore, the activities must be carefully managed to minimise impact to the structural safety of the surrounding infrastructure.

LTA said that it will deploy additional measures including real-time instrumentation monitoring and rigorous survey checks.


RTS Link viaduct connecting Singapore and Johor Bahru in Malaysia. (Credit: Government of Singapore.)

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