ISMAILIA, Egypt — Work on a parallel waterway to allow two-way traffic on Egypt’s Suez Canal will be finished in time to allow ships to transit for an inauguration ceremony at the key trade route Aug. 6, officials said Saturday.

Work has been 85 percent completed, with 43 dredging machines working around the clock to finish by July 15, canal authority chief Mohab Mameesh said. Electronic navigation systems have been installed and pilots are training on simulators equipped with maps of the new canal.

“People haven’t slept … it’s like a battle,” he said. “It is boosting our self-confidence and we are hoping this project will return Egypt to the path for investment.”