The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in Singapore has unveiled plans for a major expansion of the Woodlands Checkpoint, with work set to commence in 2025. The project aims to increase the checkpoint’s size fivefold, addressing the growing demand for travel. The first phase, scheduled for completion progressively from 2028, involves an extension at the Old Woodlands Town Centre and the Bukit Timah Expressway.
- Phased Development: The Woodlands Checkpoint redevelopment will occur in several phases over the next 10 to 15 years, incorporating land acquisition and reclamation. The initial phase will involve extending the checkpoint at the Old Woodlands Town Centre and the Bukit Timah Expressway. The entire redevelopment is expected to be fully operational by 2032.
- Land Size and Reclamation: The redeveloped checkpoint, including the existing facility, is estimated to cover about 95 hectares—more than double the size of the current checkpoint (19 hectares). The land expansion will involve reclamation, tentatively starting in the third quarter of 2024 and expected to conclude by 2029. Environmental impact assessments have been conducted, with measures recommended to mitigate potential environmental concerns.
- Traffic Management and Automation: The expansion aims to enhance operational efficiency, reduce congestion, and expedite clearance times. The average clearance time during peak periods is targeted to be reduced from 60 to 15 minutes. Automation, such as automated in-car immigration clearance systems, will be incorporated. Holding areas for vehicles within the checkpoint and security checks away from the main checkpoint are also planned.
- Initial Phase Features:
- An extension at the Old Woodlands Town Centre with 21 cargo lanes and 78 arrival car lanes.
- Increased cargo clearance capacity by 30% and arrival car clearance capacity by 95%.
- Flexibility to convert arrival car lanes into 156 arrival motorcycle lanes during peak periods.
- Subsequent Phases: Future phases include building clearance facilities on acquired and reclaimed land, retrofitting the existing checkpoint, and further design studies to be announced upon completion.
- Transport Infrastructure: An extension to the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) will be created to facilitate smoother traffic flow for vehicles exiting the checkpoint. Surrounding road networks will be upgraded to alleviate congestion.
- Causeway Upgrade: There are currently no plans to upgrade the Causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore, as it is deemed to have sufficient capacity.
Conclusion: The Woodlands Checkpoint expansion is a significant infrastructure project that responds to the increasing volume of travelers and aims to streamline immigration processes. The phased approach, incorporating automation and advanced traffic management, reflects a strategic vision for improved efficiency and reduced congestion. The redevelopment aligns with Singapore’s broader goals of enhancing connectivity and maintaining a seamless travel experience for residents and visitors.