SINGAPORE - The second civil contract for the construction of the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link was awarded on Friday (Jan 29), a week after Singapore broke ground on the cross-border rail shuttle service connecting the island with Malaysia.
The $180 million contract covering the construction of a 25m-tall viaduct spanning the Strait of Johor and connecting rail tunnels was given to China Communications Construction Company Limited (Singapore Branch), which is currently constructing the Boon Lay station on the Jurong Region Line, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said.
The construction firm, which has previously completed rail projects in other countries such as China and Kenya, is expected to start work on the viaduct and tunnels in Singapore next quarter.
The viaduct will stand above the Johor Strait within Singapore's territory, LTA said, and will then continue inland and transition to underground tunnels connecting to the RTS Link terminus station in Woodlands North.
At the groundbreaking ceremony last week to mark the start of construction at the Woodlands North site, LTA revealed that the viaduct would be constructed using the balanced cantilever method. This would entail lifting concrete segments weighing up to 180 tonnes.
The 4km RTS Link is expected to be operational in end-2026 and connect commuters to Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru, where construction began last November.
The line is expected to carry up to 10,000 passengers every hour in each direction, and the trip between both stations should take only five minutes.
The rail link should help ease congestion on the Causeway. Before Covid-19 restrictions were imposed, close to 300,000 people crossed the Causeway daily.
LTA has said that commuters on the RTS Link will be served by a terminus station and an immigration complex in Woodlands North about 10 times the size of a typical MRT station.
Penta-Ocean Construction, which was awarded the first civil contract worth $932.8 million last November, is building the station, the Customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) building and the tunnels.
Built underground at a maximum depth of 28m, the Woodlands North RTS Link station will have three storeys, including two basement levels and an underground linkway to the CIQ building. The station will be connected to the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) station via an underground concourse.
CIQ facilities for both Singapore and Malaysia will be co-located at both the Woodlands North and Bukit Chagar stations, meaning commuters have to clear immigration only once, at their point of departure.
The RTS Link project was first announced in 2010 with an initial target completion date of 2018. But in 2019, it was suspended at Malaysia's request for a review of its scope, structure and costs.
The project officially resumed in July last year with several key changes, including the use of a standalone light rail transit system instead of the same trains and systems as the TEL.