Johor mega projects next year include new bridge to Singapore: Chief minister

Menteri Besar Osman Sapian said that construction of the new bridge could start after all quarters agree on how to address congestion at the existing Johor Causeway and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link. PHOTO: ST FILE

JOHOR BARU (BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Johor state government has identified several mega projects to be implemented in the southern Malaysian state in 2019, including building a new bridge linking Johor Baru and Singapore and an airport in Mersing.

Menteri Besar Osman Sapian said on Monday (Nov 12) that construction of the 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," Mr 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.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who mooted the project during his first tenure in office, previously said that Malaysia does not need Singapore's consent to build the bridge as its modified design could 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 noted that construction might take place next year and that the design of the bridge was not finalised.

Meanwhile the proposed new Mersing airport, located in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), will serve tourists, including 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," Mr Osman told reporters on Monday.

He said that whether construction will start next year would depend on the federal government's allocation.

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