Singapore and Malaysia are now undertaking the first phase of a joint-engineering study for the Malaysia-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) link project and will make their decision next year.
Ismail Ibrahim, Chief Executive Officer of Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA, pictured), said the study will look into the alignments, immigration, multimodal terminal locations, customs, quarantine-related matters and other critical perimeters of the proposed project.
“Once it is completed, both governments will make a decision on the preferred alignments,” said Ismail.
He revealed that there are two options for the RTS project linking Singapore and Johor Bahru — the trains can either run above ground or through an undersea tunnel. Should the latter be chosen, the parties will have to decide whether it will be bore or sunken.
Ismail added that an undersea tunnel is more favourable as traffic disruptions during construction would be minimal, given that the project will be near the CIQ complexes of Singapore and Malaysia.
“The final outcome on what kind of link will be built will all depend on the recommendations of the study for the consideration of the two governments involved as well as costing,” said Ismail.
The project was announced by both countries in May this year and is expected to begin operations in 2018.
Meanwhile, the intercity rail project in Iskandar Malaysia is still being evaluated for feasibility and two parties have submitted proposals for the plan, added Ismail.
“Nevertheless, Irda noted the high implementation cost for the project while coverage is somewhat limited compared with other public transport system.”