I am particularly heartened that the committee has included a proposal to construct a sheltered pedestrian link way to enable commuters to walk across the Causeway to ease the congestion problem.
I have been promoting the idea of building an elevated air-conditioned travelator linking the two CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) facilities between Johor Baru and Woodlands. The proposal would consist of a four-lane travelator similar to that used at most large airports.
Depending on traffic demand, these travelators could be turned on either way to facilitate traffic flow, that is three lanes could be switched on to run from JB to Woodlands in the morning and the reverse can be done in the evening.
This elevated walkway could be built over the existing railway line and designed as a dome-shaped semi-circle wide enough to accommodate four travelator lines in the centre and commercial space on both sides for kiosks or small food and beverage outlets.
The travelator link way is feasible for the following reasons:
> Cost of construction is a fraction of the mass rapid transit rail system proposed. There is also minimal maintenance cost compared to the MRT;
> Distance is only 1.3km and there is no requirement for land acquisition since it can be built over the existing railway track;
> It can operate 24 hours and there is no waiting time. A commuter can get from one point to another within 10 minutes;
> It would be totally self-financing as commuters could be charged a token fee of, say, RM1 from JB to Woodlands and S$1 from Woodlands to JB. With revenue from the lease of the commercial spaces, the payback could be recouped within five years; and
> It could be a joint venture between Malaysia and Singapore by way of a special purpose company to build and manage it. An alternative could be to hire a private company to build it on a BOT (build, operate and transfer) basis if government funding is an issue.
Whichever system is to be adopted, congestion at the Causeway must be resolved quickly for the well-being of commuters. I hope the governments on both side of the Causeway would take a more proactive stance to seek a resolution for a better tomorrow.
Chairman, Southern Region
Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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