MI - Soo Locks Closing for Seasonal Repair, Maintenance
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has several projects to complete before reopening the locks in March.
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan will close to marine traffic beginning 11:59 p.m. January 15 through 12:01 a.m. March 25 to perform critical maintenance.
The operating season is fixed by federal regulation and is driven in part by the feasibility of vessels operating in typical ice conditions.
Every year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses the winter period to perform maintenance to keep the Soo Locks operating. The Soo Area Office team works long hours in extreme conditions to complete a significant amount of maintenance during this annual closure period. The work they perform is unique, especially given the harsh northern Michigan conditions they work in.
”It is a difficult time in terms of weather to complete this work, but it keeps this important national infrastructure project operating during shipping season,” Soo Area Office Area Engineer Kevin Sprague said.
The Corps of Engineers has several projects to complete before reopening the locks in March.
”The first step is to place the bulkheads then our dive team goes into the freezing water to seal the bulkheads and prepare the locks for dewatering,” he said. “Most of the maintenance projects will take place on the dewatered Poe Lock, the only lock large enough for the 1,000-foot freighters to transit.