On Thursday (15 September) Egyptian President Anwar Sadat opened the second stage of work on a 20 million pounds sterling (35 million dollar US) tunnel being built under the Suez Canal, which will link Sinai Peninsula and mainland Egypt for the first time since the canal was built over 100 years ago.
GV PAN: Tunnel site at El Shat on Suez Canal.
SV PAN DOWN: Work on tunnel shell
LV & GV: Bulldozers
SV & CU: Sadat arrives by car and is greeted by officials in charge of site.
SV & CU: Sadat looking at plan of project and listening to explanations. (THREE SHOTS)
SV PAN: Sadat walks to observation site and watches earth moving equipment.
SV: Sadat and officials grouped around planning table and talking.
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Background: On Thursday (15 September) Egyptian President Anwar Sadat opened the second stage of work on a 20 million pounds sterling (35 million dollar US) tunnel being built under the Suez Canal, which will link Sinai Peninsula and mainland Egypt for the first time since the canal was built over 100 years ago.
SYNOPSIS: The tunnel is one of three being built under the canal. When on it began two years ago, the second stage will not be completed until May 1979, when it is planned to build two more tunnels under the central and northern sections of the canal. The tunnels - being built with the use of bulldozers and dredges - will cost an estimated 100 million pounds sterling (160 million dollars US).
But the project is only part of Egypt's overall plans to restore the Suez Canal to once again being the major waterway it was before being closed by the Middle East war.
Earlier President Sadat had been inspecting work progress on deepening and widening the canal, a project aimed at eventually trebling the waterway's annual revenue of 500 million dollars. At present half the world's oil tankers are prevented from using the canal because it cannot accommodate their size.
When the canal was first re-opened shipping companies were reluctant to use it. But now confidence has apparently returned and traffic has risen to almost what is was before being closed by the 1967 Middle East war. The canal save hips from having to make the long trip around Africa, and halves the distance between the Arab Gulf and harbours of southern Europe. The major plans for re-modification should be completed by the 1980's.