Photos posted on Facebook show a congested road at Tuas (left) and motorcyclists stopped on a road in Malaysia leading towards the Woodlands Checkpoint. — Picture via Facebook
SINGAPORE, Oct 9 — Traffic on the Johor-Singapore Causeway came to a halt in the early hours today due a nearly four-hour power outage at Woodlands Checkpoint, leading to some drivers being redirected to the Second Link.
The unexpected outage led to the Old Woodlands Checkpoint being opened for commuters who were already on the Causeway to enter Singapore, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in response to queries.
“ICA regrets the inconvenience caused and would like to thank travellers for their understanding, patience and cooperation with officers on the ground,” ICA said.
The power outage was the result of a failed backup power generator while scheduled maintenance of the power source at Woodlands Checkpoint was taking place.
The scheduled maintenance began at 11.40pm on Saturday — a time when traffic is usually at its lowest — and required the power source to be disconnected so that some components could be replaced, ICA said.
A backup power generator was activated to provide power during this period, but it failed at around 12.20am. ICA said that the backup generator was tested to be working earlier in the day.
“While immediate steps were taken to restore the power supply at the checkpoint, ICA immediately activated its contingency plan to manage the traffic heading towards Woodlands Checkpoint,” ICA said.
These included working with the Malaysian authorities to divert vehicles in Malaysia entering Singapore towards the Second Link, it added.
ICA officers and the Traffic Police were also deployed on the Bukit Timah Expressway and Woodlands Crossing to direct vehicles in Singapore to the Tuas Checkpoint.
Travellers already on the Causeway or at the Woodlands Checkpoint were directed to the Old Woodlands Checkpoint where additional ICA officers were deployed to clear them through immigration, ICA said.
Alerts were sent out via radio broadcasts, ICA’s Facebook page as well as the expressway monitoring and advisory system to inform the public of the situation at Woodlands Checkpoint, ICA said.
Power was eventually restored at around 4am. After ICA tested that its systems were operational, it gradually reopened its immigration clearance counters for the different modes of transport from around 5.15am.
Immigration clearance operations returned to normal at around 6.25am.
Photos posted on social media showed crowds of people waiting about at Malaysia’s immigrations and customs building and long lines of cars near the Tuas Checkpoint.
A video clip posted on TikTok showed cars in Malaysia making a U-turn at a dimly lit Woodlands Checkpoint and returning to Johor Bahru.
Another, posted by user Haziq Aidith, showed dozens of motorcyclists in Malaysia stopped on the sides of a road leading to the Woodlands Checkpoint.
“Mother if you are reading this… I’ll be home late,” the user wrote. — TODAY