THE Woodlands Checkpoint will be expanded, in a move that will see 9 Housing Board blocks nearby acquired.
Blocks 210 to 218 at Marsiling Crescent/Lane will be acquired as part of the massive redevelopment and expansion.
HDB said this covers 732 sold flats, 53 rental flats, 1 rental kiosk, 6 rental shops and 1 rental eating house.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), which announced updated plans for the checkpoint on Thursday (May 26), said the expansion will address traffic congestion and meet a projected 40 per cent increase in traffic volumes by 2050.
In 2017, the ICA had said that the land checkpoint would be expanded to take in the Old Woodlands Town Centre.
The checkpoint has to be extended further, the authority said on Thursday, noting that travel volume at Woodlands has returned to more than 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during weekends with the full reopening of land borders since Apr 1.
Traffic volume is expected to return to the daily average of 300,000 travellers soon, and continue to increase thereafter, it added.
"If the overall capacity is not increased, the travel time for vehicular traffic could increase by more than 60 per cent to 70 per cent during peak periods by 2050," ICA said.
In a media briefing, ICA's deputy commissioner Hsu Sin Yun said: "The main aim of this extension of Woodlands Checkpoint is to bring the clearance time during peak hours from the 60 minutes pre-Covid-19 to 15 minutes eventually, even considering the increase in traffic that we project coming to the checkpoint."
HDB said flat owners at Blocks 212 to 218 will be offered the same benefits as those under the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers), including compensation based on the market value of their flats and the option to buy a new flat with a fresh 99-year lease.
Residents will have to move out by the second quarter of 2028.
About 1,100 replacement flats will be built in Woodlands Street 13. Construction will begin in the third quarter of 2023 and should be completed by the fourth quarter of 2027.
A study is ongoing to come up with an optimal design to clear heavy goods vehicles and motorcycles at the checkpoint, ICA said.
As part of the expansion, the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) will be extended and upgraded to channel traffic directly to and from the Old Woodlands Town Centre extension, the authority added.
The surrounding local road network will also be upgraded, it said.
Beyond alleviating congestion, ICA said the extension aims to significantly reduce travel time - by as much as 4 times - by incorporating greater automation and flexi-lanes that can be toggled to either clear cars or motorcycles.
The extension will also allow vehicle checks to be conducted in an area away from the main parts of the checkpoint, in a move to boost security. THE STRAITS TIMES