February 17, 2003
By IZATUN SHARI
THE Government came up with a proposal to build a bridge linking Johor to the midpoint of the Causeway because Singapore objected to Malaysia’s earlier suggestion to replace the entire Causeway, said Gerbang Perdana Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Yahya A. Jalil.
Gerbang Perdana, which is the project developer, was directed to revise the proposal when Singapore objected to a bridge to replace the whole Causeway, he said.
It was reported yesterday that Singapore, through a Foreign Ministry spokesman, denied that its Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong had rejected a Malaysian proposal to build a new bridge linking the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex in Johor Baru to the CIQ in Woodlands, Singapore.
Yahya said that the earlier proposal, which was mooted in 1996, was presented to Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 2000.
“The proposal to build the bridge on the Malaysian side of the Causeway was made at the end of 2001,” he told a media briefing at Gerbang Perdana's head office yesterday.
This was aimed at easing the traffic congestion in Johor Baru, improving water quality and reducing pollution in the Straits of Johor.
“We have to do this urgently because the traffic congestion in Johor Baru is severe and the water in the Straits of Johor is very polluted,” Yahya said.
He said the 1.4km bridge would comprise three sections, namely a section from the international boundary of the Causeway over the Straits of Johor, a cable stayed bridge and another section approaching the CIQ complex in Johor Baru.
There would also be a 150m swing bridge which would open a navigation channel to allow ships to pass andit would be connected to Malaysia’s part of the rail line.
Yahya, who declined to disclose the construction cost of the bridge, said the company had carried out detailed studies before beginning construction work.
He said work at the midpoint of the Causeway, which was the international boundary of Malaysia and Singapore, began on Jan 26.
“We started work at the CIQ complex in Johor Baru three months ago, while work on the cable stayed bridge is expected to begin in June,” he added.
The bridge was scheduled to be completed at the end of 2005 and operational in 2006.
Yahya said it would be able to cater to double the present traffic volume of 120,000 vehicles daily.
“It will have dual three-lane carriageways for cars, lorries and buses and twin motorcycle lanes,” he added.