Plans for the construction of three tunnels under the Suez Canal in Egypt are well under way.
Plans for the construction of three tunnels under the Suez Canal in Egypt are well under way. President Anwar Sadat visit the construction site of one them near the city of Suez on Monday (6 June).
SYNOPSIS: The foundation stone for the El Shatt tunnel was laid by President Sadat in June 1975. Since then, work has been continuing to complete terminal buildings at each end of the tunnel and the excavation of the earth itself. The total project is not expected to be completed until the middle of 1979.
President Sadat has said the three tunnels form part of a major development programme for the Sinai desert. Egyptians have traditionally lived on and made use of the west bank of the Suez, and the new plan envisages that as much as two million acres (about 890,000 hectare) of newly arable land could be put into use by irrigating the desert. The tunnels will play an important role, as improved transportation between the two banks of the canal is vital to the programme.
One advantage to the planners is that the present canal towns are surrounded by huge areas of essentially barren land.
However, Egypt may face problems in raising the necessary finance for the Suez and Sinai programmes. It will have to rely greatly on foreign investment. But it is also imperative that the Suez Canal can be made full use of. There are plans for it too to be improved and widened to take the modern super-tankers. The canal was closed for eight years after the 1967 Middle East war. Trade lost during that time must now be recouped if the Sinai projects are to be a success.