The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will expand Woodlands Checkpoint, with nearby Housing Board (HDB) blocks acquired or returned to facilitate the process.
According to a joint media release from ICA, HDB, and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), the redeveloped checkpoint will help to ease traffic congestion, improve travel time, and enhance security for the land border crossing between Singapore and Malaysia.
Affected by the expansion are HDB blocks 210 to 218 at Marsiling Lane and Marsiling Crescent.
In total, nine blocks, 732 sold flats, 53 rental flats, one rental kiosk, six rental shops, and one rental eating house will be affected.
Though no date was mentioned in the release, the agencies said the acquisition would be carried out progressively and that efforts would be made to minimise disruption to residents.
Rehousing benefits from HDB
Owners of the sold flats at Blocks 212 to 218 Marsiling Crescent and Marsiling Lane will be offered the same rehousing benefits as those offered under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) said the release.
This includes compensation based on the market value of their flat as at the date of the acquisition, and the option to purchase a new flat with a fresh 99-year lease at subsidised prices.
HDB will help defray the costs of moving from their old flat through the provision of a removal allowance, as well as the stamp and legal fees for the purchase of a comparable replacement flat.
Eligible rental flat tenants and tenants of rental shops, kiosks, or eating houses will be given rehousing benefits and clearance benefits respectively.
Rehousing benefits include a rehousing allowance of S$2,500 as well as priority allocation of sold flats under the built-to-order or sale of balance flats in a new precinct at Woodlands Street 13.
Replacement blocks to be built
HDB will commence construction of about 1,100 replacement flats at Woodlands Street 13 in the third quarter of 2023.
They are expected to be completed around the fourth quarter of 2027.
These flats, which the media release described as having better designs and fittings, will be made available for purchase to flat owners from the acquired Marsiling Lane and Marsiling Crescent blocks.
In addition, eligible flat owners may receive a SERS grant of up to S$30,000 and may take a HDB housing loan to buy their new flat.
Neighbours and relatives can also select replacement flats together so that they can live near each other.
"HDB, SLA and ICA will work closely with the owners and tenants and assist them through the process," read the media release.
This includes door-to-door visits to every household of the affected blocks to address their concerns.
Several sharing sessions will also be conducted for the residents with the details shown below:
Increased traffic by 2050
This latest acquisition is in addition to the current plan to build an extension of the checkpoint at the Old Woodlands Town Centre.
"A study is currently ongoing to determine the optimal design of this Woodlands Checkpoint extension to clear heavy goods vehicles and motorcycles," said the agencies.
There are also plans to upgrade surrounding road networks, including an extension to the Bukit Timah Expressway to direct the flow of traffic to and from the Old Woodlands Town Centre extension.
ICA expects that daily volume through the checkpoint will soon reach pre-pandemic levels and to increase thereafter; by 2050, traffic could increase by 40 per cent according to ICA's projection.
This would see a daily average of around 400,000 travellers — 100,000 more than the pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
As part of its plan to "future proof" the Woodlands Checkpoint, ICA will be enhancing clearance for all types of vehicular traffic, providing holding areas for traffic to be contained in the checkpoint, and conducting security checks in a forward and upfront area.
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Top photo by Mothership