Egypt's Suez Canal Authority says work on a parallel waterway to allow two-way traffic on the key trade route will be finished in time for a gala inauguration on Aug. 6.

Authority chief Mohab Mameesh says Saturday that work has been 85 percent completed, with 43 dredging machines working round the clock to finish their excavation by July 15. Electronic navigation systems have been installed and pilots are training on simulators equipped with maps of the new canal.

He says funding for the inauguration festivities will come from private companies.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has ordered the new waterway to be dug in a single year, saying that the urgency of Egypt's economic situation meant the project could not wait for an originally planned three-year timetable.