JOHOR BARU • The Johor state government has identified several mega projects to be implemented in the southern Malaysian state next year, including building a new bridge linking Johor Baru and Singapore, and an airport in Mersing.
Menteri Besar Osman Sapian said yesterday that construction of the new bridge could probably start after all quarters agree on how to address congestion at the existing Johor Causeway and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link.
"The bridge could be crooked or straight, but it would be a reality," Datuk Osman said, referring to the 2003 proposal to replace the Malaysian side of the Causeway. It was dubbed the crooked bridge as the infrastructure would involve an S-shaped, six-lane highway that would allow vessels to pass underneath.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who mooted the project during his first tenure in office, had previously said that Malaysia did not need Singapore's consent to build the bridge as it was designed to join up with the unmodified Singapore end of the Causeway.
Mr Osman said that so far, there have not been any negative comments about the revival of the crooked bridge, following the state government's numerous explanations on the matter.
"This is to solve the congestion at both entry points - and it only gets worse during holidays," he said.
He added that construction might take place next year and that the design of the bridge was not finalised yet.
Meanwhile, the proposed new Mersing airport, located in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), will serve tourists, including those from Batam, Indonesia and Phuket, Thailand, and also act as a light aircraft repair hub.
"The Prime Minister has agreed that ECER will play a role," said the chief minister. "The airport is not for aircraft like Boeing, but for light planes like the Fokker."
There are two possible locations for the airport, but the cost is still unknown. "The consultant will make an evaluation," he told reporters yesterday.
Mr Osman said whether construction would commence next year would depend on federal government funding.
BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK