(File pix) Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar (centre) granting an audience with SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah and his senior management team at Istana Bukit Pelangi, Johor Baru on Tuesday. Pix courtesy of Royal Press Office

JOHOR BARU: Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has agreed on the revised Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link alignment design as proposed by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).

The ruler conveyed his agreement after granting an audience with SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah and his senior management team at Istana Bukit Pelangi here on Tuesday, where they presented the ruler with several options for the project.

In a statement, SPAD said these alignment options took into account the suggestions made by Sultan Ibrahim during an earlier audience that the ruler granted on September 19.

“His Majesty has agreed to the option of a 25m high bridge which will cross the Straits of Johor in a straight line, while still complying with the Marine Department technical guidelines for a minimum of 25m air draught clearance.

“His Majesty also stressed the importance of ensuring adequate traffic dispersal at the RTS Bukit Chagar station area, and SPAD will act on it,” SPAD said.

The commission said it wishes to convey its gratitude to Sultan Ibrahim for giving his full support for the RTS project, and extended its appreciation to the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan for his guidance on the project.

In August, Sultan Ibrahim expressed his reservations on the proposed design of the RTS rail track, including an elevated bridge, linking Woodlands in Singapore and Bukit Chagar, Johor Baru.

Speaking during an exclusive interview with the New Straits Times Press group, Sultan Ibrahim said while he welcomed the project, he disagreed with the overall curve-shaped design of the track, as well as the plan to build the bridge as high as 30m above water in the middle section.

He was reported as saying that the bridge would disrupt the city skyline along the Johor Straits, adding the proposed curved design of the rail link, as well as the elevated bridge, was impractical, unsustainable and potentially costly.

In September, Abdul Rahman met Sultan Ibrahim to provide details on the RTS project and the ruler had expressed his views

The RTS, which was announced by the Malaysian and Singaporean governments seven years ago, is expected to accommodate up to 10,000 passengers an hour in each direction between its terminus stations at Bukit Chagar and Woodlands.

On the Singapore side, the rail link will join the republic's Mass Rapid Transit at its upcoming Thomson East Coast Line (TEL), which will open in phases from 2019 to 2024.

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