Johor to spend $9.9m on air-conditioned walkway with escalators for pedestrians on Malaysian side of Causeway

ISKANDAR PUTERI - The Johor state government is planning to build a 350m covered walkway for pedestrians on the Malaysian side of the Causeway, at a cost of RM30 million (S$9.9 million), a senior Johor official has said.

Once completed, the project would make it more comfortable for the hundreds of people who walk across the land link connecting Johor Baru to Woodlands, said Johor's state minister (exco) for Public Works, Infrastructure and Transport Committee on Sunday (Sept 13), as quoted by Bernama news agency.

Before the coronavirus pandemic led to the general closure of the Causeway, more than 300,000 travellers used the land link daily, including some 100,000 people who commuted daily to work in Singapore. Most people used motorcycles, cars and buses to get across what is reputed to be the world's busiest border crossings. But hundreds of people were often seen walking across the Causeway daily to reach the other side faster due to the traffic snarls.

Malaysia's federal government has doubled its initial allocation of RM15 million after the walkway was redesigned, with escalators and air-conditioning added in, Mr Mohd Solihan told reporters on the sidelines of the Johor state assembly proceedings. "The construction will involve the Home Ministry and Works Ministry as the Johor Causeway is maintained by the Malaysian Highway Authority," he said.

Mr Mohd Solihan did not say whether the covered walkway would be built on pedestrian paths on the existing 1km road link, or whether a new structure would be added by the side of the link. "The distance of 350m ends at the border with Singapore. However, for Singapore, I'm not sure how long the distance is going to be," Bernama quoted him as saying. "For our part of the route, the construction cost is via the Finance Ministry and its implementation is by the Works Ministry."

According to Mr Mohd Solihan, pedestrians are actually prohibited on the Johor Causeway, but the authorities have not taken any action against them. He said that Singapore Consulate officials in Johor Baru whom he met had expressed interest in the project, Bernama reported.