SINGAPORE: The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced on Monday (Jan 29) that it will be redeveloping Woodlands Checkpoint (WCP) to address chronic traffic problems in the area.
“The redeveloped WCP will be operationalised progressively from 2028 and will not disrupt ongoing operations at WCP,” ICA assured the public.
In 2000, a year after the Woodlands Checkpoint opened, there were 230,000 travellers daily. This has since increased to 300,000 daily travellers and even more on long weekends and holidays. By 2050, the number of daily travellers passing through Woodlands Checkpoint is projected to reach 400,000.
While ICA has carried out a number of initiatives to increase clearance efficiency without compromising the security of Singapore’s borders, these efforts are ultimately limited by space and infrastructural constraints.
“Without redeveloping WCP, the travel time for vehicular traffic could increase by more than 60 to 70 per cent during peak periods by 2050,” ICA noted.
With land acquisition and reclamation as the only solution to Woodlands Checkpoint’s redevelopment, the government agency overseeing Singapore’s industrial spaces, JTC Corporation, will carry out reclamation works.
The full redevelopment of Woodlands Checkpoint will make it about five times its current size.
Furthermore, it aims to reduce the average travel time from the current 60 minutes to 15 minutes during peak periods by improving clearance efficiency.
The plan also includes more automation, including automated in-car immigration clearance systems and conducting security checks away from the checkpoint core structure, which would mitigate security risks.
It also has a provision for holding areas for traffic within the checkpoint to reduce congestion extending onto local roads and the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) leading to the checkpoint.
“Given the need to maintain the current operations at WCP and accounting for existing site conditions, ICA has carefully laid out a plan to redevelop WCP in several phases over the next 10 to 15 years,” wrote ICA.
The first phase involves an extension at the Old Woodlands Town Centre that would substantially increase the clearance capacity for cargo vehicles, cars, and motorcycles.
The BKE is to be extended as the wetland will align with the eastern edge of Marsiling Park, so the impact on the sensitive ecological site at the park’s western side will be minimized.
Construction at Old Woodlands Town Centre and BKE extension will start in 2025 and be completed progressively from 2028.
After that, the Old Woodlands Checkpoint will be demolished, redeveloped, and integrated with the OWTC extension, which is expected to be fully operational in 2032. /TISG