Excluding connecting ramps and other structures, the total driven length of the two twin tunnels – of which the recent breakthroughs relate to one – is 15km. Four Herrenknecht Mixshields with a cutting diameter of 13.02m tackled the sands and gravels encountered while traversing the old and new Suez Canals. The machines bored at depths of up to 60m.

The construction companies involved are Tunnel Joint Venture Road Tunnel Port Said Arab Contractors/ Orascom and Tunnel Joint Venture Road Tunnel Ismailia Petrojet/Concord/CMC. The designer was Arcadis.

A spokesperson for TBM manufacturer Herrenknecht said: “Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Martin Herrenknecht, chairman of the Board of Management of Herrenknecht, were personally present at the TBM breakthrough of Mixshield S-960 at Ismailia. president al- Sisi emphasised that the project was crucial to Egypt’s future. The previously neglected economy of Sinai Peninsula can grow as a result. The tunnels will shorten the time for crossing the Suez Canal immensely. With the new tunnel connections, soon it will take only 10 minutes.

“To allow for a smooth project progress during the very complex tunnel operations, Herrenknecht trained 40 Egyptian engineers in Schwanau and on the jobsites. For optimal support of the tunnelling processes, Herrenknecht also provided the tunnelling teams with comprehensive services and supplied key peripheral equipment through the Herrenknecht subsidiaries VMT, MSD, Formwork, H+E and TMS.”