Choking In Traffic

Racing against time to stop JB city centre ‘choking in traffic’

YEE XIANG YUN

Easing the flow: Once completed, the RTS Link that connects Johor Baru with Singapore is expected to exacerbate traffic conditions in the city centre.

JOHOR BARU: Johor is racing to come up with feasible ways to address the heavier traffic volume expected here when the Rapid Transit System Link (RTS Link) starts operating in about three years, says state executive councillor Lee Ting Han.

The Johor investment, trade, consumer affairs and human resources committee chairman said that the elevated Autonomous Rapid Transit (ART) system was one such measure.

“The state government will be submitting a proposal to the Federal Government about the establishment of an elevated ART.

“It will be discussed and approved at the state level during the weekly Johor executive council meeting before it is submitted to the Transport and Economy ministries,” he told The Star yesterday.

He said prior to this, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi had announced that the elevated ART had received the consent of His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia, and Johor Regent Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.

Lee added that traffic dispersal is a pressing issue, especially with the ongoing RTS Link mega project, which will connect Johor with Singapore by rail, expected to start operating on Jan 1, 2027.

“The RTS Link is able to transport 10,000 passengers per hour per direction, so we are forecasting a high volume of people traveling between Johor and Singapore daily.

“If each of them takes their own private vehicle, it will be severely congested in the Johor Baru city centre. We must find a way to disperse the crowd and the elevated ART is a good mode to do so,” he said.

Lee said the ART has been effectively implemented in many countries and also pointed out that it would be implemented in Kuching, Sarawak, soon.

A team from Johor had been sent to Sarawak to learn how the feasibility study and proposal for the project were done, he said, adding that the findings would be included in the state government’s submission to the Federal Government.

Asked about the proposed elevated ART routes, Lee said the state would be using the existing alignment of the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) project announced in 2018, which uses dedicated busways to cover major catchment areas.

“The current state government feels that if the IMBRT is continued with a dedicated bus lane, it will be competing with the existing road users and may not achieve the desired outcome.

“So, we are proposing an elevated ART that follows the IMBRT alignment as the land acquisition along the routes has been done partially. Once we receive the federal approvals, we can start work as soon as possible because the clock is ticking.

“If we do not plan it (properly), we will be choking up the city centre,” said Lee, who is the co-chairman of the Johor high- impact transportation project committee – the state’s task force on transportation projects – along with works, transportation, infrastructure and communications committee chairman Mohamad Fazli Mohamad Salleh.

On April 16, Onn Hafiz said the proposal had received royal consent, following which Transport Minister Anthony Loke said the Federal Government is looking into the matter.

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