Bulldozers and trucks are seen in a demonstration of the equipment which will be used as part of plans for a major upgrade of the Suez Canal, in Cairo August 5, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's armed forces spokesmam Mohamed Samir said Sunday that the military started digging the projected new Suez canal Wednesday, 6 August.
Samir stressed that the armed forces are committed to complete the project, a canal planned to be 72 kilometres in length, in 12 months.
In a statement on his official Facebook page, Samir stated that the Egyptian Armed Forces Engineering Authority has divided the digging process among 33 specialised Egyptian civilian companies and two army battalions.
The new canal is part of the Suez Canal Development mega project, which includes the development of several seaports in the three governorates bordering the canal — Suez, Ismailia and Port Said — in addition to a seaport in the South Sinai city of Nuweiba and the development of Sharm El-Sheikh airport.
Head of the Suez Canal, Mohab Memish, earlier announced that the project would cost $4 billion.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attended the inauguration of the new project last Tuesday. He later revisited the site to check on the digging process.
El-Sisi announced that digging the parallel canal would be finished by mid-2015, far sooner than the three years previously announced for the project.