Soo Locks gets $479M from infrastructure bill to fully fund new lock construction

Paul R Tregurtha Soo Locks.jpg
Posted at 8:01 AM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 08:01:53-05

(WXYZ) — The Soo Locks are getting hundreds of millions of dollars to finish the new massive lock and modernize the other locks.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday it was getting $479 million from President Joe Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill. In all, they are getting $561 million for projects.

“The Soo Locks are nationally critical infrastructure, and their reliability is essential to U.S. manufacturing and National Security,” Detroit District Deputy District Engineer Kevin McDaniels said in a statement. “A failure of the Poe Lock would have significant impacts to the U.S. economy, especially the steel industry.”

Currently, the Soo Locks have two active lock chambers – the MacArthur Lock, and the Poe Lock, which is the only one large enough for the massive 1,000-foot freighters to navigate the Great Lakes and go from Lake Superior to Lake Michigan.

A new lock is being built on the site of two inactive locks that will be the same size as the Poe Lock – 1,200 feet long and 110 feet wide.

In December, the corps 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.

“The New Lock at the Soo will provide much-needed resiliency in the Great Lakes Navigation System,” McDaniels said. “It will eliminate the single point of failure in our nation’s iron ore supply chain.”

"The locks are critical to facilitating trade and economic cooperation between our two peninsulas and Great Lakes neighbors. Our federal partners are also bolstering critical Michigan harbors, further shoring up our waterways and enabling businesses to trade goods and supplies more easily," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer added in a statement.

With the funding from the infrastructure bill, the project for the new lock is fully funded at a cost of $1.3 billion.