Singapore, Malaysia mark new milestone on RTS Link project; connecting span completed

The Johor Bahru – Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link project between Singapore and Malaysia has achieved another significant milestone with the completion of the connecting span, which connects the marine viaduct between the two countries.

Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, and Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, attended the ceremony held today (11 Jan) at the RTS Link marine viaduct site in the Straits of Johor. They also signed commemorative plaques symbolising the shared commitment of both countries to deliver this cross-border rail project.

Weighing about 340 t, the 17.1-m-long connecting span is a reinforced concrete structure located between Malaysia’s Pier 47 and Singapore’s Pier 48. It was built using steel support structures at a height of more than 26 m above sea level, and was completed at the end of December 2023, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Transport (MOT).

During the span construction, prolonged direct exposure to the weather and carrying out installation works requiring millimetre precision under strong wind conditions presented an additional challenge, said MOT. These marine works had to be monitored closely to ensure that they were being performed safely and in a timely manner.

Following the completion of the connecting span, the works for the civil structures will continue. When completed, the civil structures will be handed over to RTS Operations Pte Ltd, which will carry out the installation works for the RTS Link rail systems. RTS Operations is a joint venture company formed between Prasarana Malaysia Berhad and SMRT Corporation Ltd to operate the RTS Link service.

Targeted to commence passenger service by December 2026, the 4-km RTS Link will connect Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru to Woodlands North in Singapore, with a peak capacity of up to 10,000 passengers per hour per direction.

There will be co-located Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities at both the Bukit Chagar and Woodlands North stations, such that commuters only need to undergo immigration clearance at the point of departure.

Progress on Singapore side

In a separate statement, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) revealed that all 12 pile caps, which form the foundation for the piers supporting the 730-m RTS Link marine and land viaduct on the Singapore side, have also been completed. Construction of the piers as well as the launch of viaduct segments are ongoing.

The viaduct will connect through underground tunnels to the RTS Link Woodlands North station, which is being constructed at a maximum depth of 28 m. The CIQ building will have three storeys, with two basement levels. An underground Basement 3 linkway will connect the CIQ building to the station. Construction of the linkway has been completed and the remaining works are underway.

Construction of the CIQ building, tunnels and viaduct started in 2021. Works in Singapore are progressing well, said LTA, with about two-thirds of the overall civil infrastructure works completed to date.

The total gross floor area of the RTS Link Woodlands North station and CIQ building is approximately 10 times the size of a typical MRT station. These will be seamlessly connected to the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) Woodlands North MRT station via an underground concourse.

Image: LTA