Egypt nears completion of its $1billion transport links that will reduce travel time from several hours to four minutes

Egypt is due to open four new tunnels under the Suez Canal, taking the time it currently takes to cross via bridge or boat down from hours or even days to just a few minutes.

Two tunnels have been built north of the city of Ismailia, some 87 miles north-east of Cairo. Two more run underneath the old and new canals near Port Said, at the northern end of the Suez, on the Mediterranean coast.

It is hoped that the tunnels, the construction of which have cost 18 billion Egyptian pounds ($1billion/£780million), will help boost economic growth on the sparsely populated Sinai Peninsula.

Engineers predict that travel times crossing the canal would be cut from several hours to around four minutes, as vehicles will no longer need to use ferries or cross the Al Salam bridge, north of Ismailia.

At the moment, queues of traffic to the Suez Canal ferry can sometimes back up for miles, and a single journey has been known to sometimes take several days.

The vehicle tunnels will be 3.8km long (2.37miles) and the rail tunnel 5.6km (3.48miles).

Local media reports the tunnels are due to be opened by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on October 6.