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Soo Locks closing for seasonal repair, maintenance on Jan. 15

Empty Poe Lock Soo Locks
Posted at 7:15 AM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 07:15:51-05

(WXYZ) — The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie will close to ship traffic on Saturday night for yearly maintenance.

Every year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses the two-month closure to perform maintenance on the locks to keep them going.

The corps said the Detroit District team works long hours in extreme conditions on a significant amount of maintenance. The locks are scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. on March 25.

“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 Engineer Kevin Sprague said.

The Corps of Engineers has several projects to complete, including working and inspecting the Poe Lock hydraulic steel structure, miter gate bottom girder repair and seal replacement, dewatering system maintenance and more.

Contractors will also perform rehabilitation of the Poe Lock's upstream primary gate.

On top of the maintenance, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is building a second Poe-sized lock which holds the largest ships on the Great Lakes at more than 1,000 feet. The lock is 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long.

In December, they wrapped up the second year of upstream channel deepening to deepen the canal enough for the large ships to use. The work will resume in the spring, and construction of the lock chamber is expected to begin in the 2022 construction season.