Suez Canal Tunnels

The Ismailia Road tunnel is a twin-tube road tunnel that now crosses the existing and new Suez Canal, north of the city of Ismailia. The tunnel is part of a larger development project in the Suez Canal corridor. The completion of the project, including the tunnel, was of the highest priority in Egypt and supported at all levels of the government. It was seen as a catalyst for economic growth to the region and expectations were high to deliver the project on a tight schedule.

Scope of Work
The Ballard team was brought in to replace another services provider, for a variety of reasons, to support round-the-clock interventions. Soon after our arrival on-site, production rates increased significantly, and decompression sickness that had been previously reported dropped to zero for the Ballard-supported work.

Innovative Solutions
As the project continued, the compression pressure increased. Ballard utilized saturation techniques to increase production rates despite pressures over six bar of absolute pressure, eighty-seven pounds per square inch. This was accomplished with a combination of Ballard-owned and rented saturation habitats and hyperbaric shuttles. With difficulties in sourcing blended gasses, Ballard provided custom-blended oxygen and helium to create a safe atmosphere in the two sets of living chambers and shuttles.

The EUR 6.58 billion Suez Canal Project features a new 72,000 meter (45 forty-five mile) long parallel branch of the 190,000 meters (118 miles) long Suez Canal from Deversoir Air Base to Deir al-Balah, which cost EUR 3.22 billion including six new tunnels to connect the Sinai Peninsula to the Egyptian mainland that cost an additional EUR 3.36 billion.

TBM Type: Herrenknecht / EPB
Location: Ismailia, Egypt
Design Pressure: 8 bar/116 PSI


•Developed project specific hyperbaric saturation operations manual
• Provided on-call compressed air workers for trimix and saturation interventions
• Provided on-call compressed air workers for interventions
• Designed trimix breathing gags delivery system
• Contractor compressed air worker training
• Welding/burning under pressure
• Saturation and mixed gas
• Hot work
• Confined space diving