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Final Ship Passes Through Soo Locks Until March

Update 01/16/23 12:41 p.m. 

The last ship until March went through the Soo Locks Monday morning.

The locks were originally scheduled to close at midnight Monday, but the Defiance Tug/Ashtabula Barge left Duluth, MN late.

The barge locked through at 10 a.m. and the locks are now officially closed for maintenance until March 25.

Engineers will be performing repairs on both the Poe and MacArthur Locks.

01/13/23 7:05 p.m. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District announced that the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie will close for seasonal repairs and maintenance on Sunday, Jan. 15.

The locks will close to marine traffic at 11:59 p.m. on the 15th, or until traffic through the locks ceases. They will reopen at 12:01 a.m. on March 25.

Every winter, the Corps of Engineers closes the locks for maintenance. While winter is the ideal time to perform this work, since traffic is lighter, “Winter weather poses challenges and adds intensity to maintenance, (but) the team is highly skilled and equipped to safely execute critical projects that allow for continued operational reliability,” said LeighAnn Ryckeghem, Soo Locks operations manager.

Maintenance Branch Chief Nick Pettit said, “This winter, a portion of maintenance projects on Gate 1 require the Poe Lock to remain full, while others require the lock to be dewatered. Sequencing Poe Lock maintenance/repairs allows our team to maximize the non-navigation season.”

Dewatering of the Poe Lock will begin Feb. 13. The MacArthur Lock will not be dewatered this year.

The team will install a temporary panel bridge across the Poe Lock. This panel bridge will provide the ability to mobilize materials and equipment to the job sites throughout the winter closure.

Maintenance crews will complete Gate 1 spring box and lever arm repairs to include replacing concrete, curtain bubbler replacement, Gate 1 lifting lugs, underfloor drain system inspection, dewatering chamber inspection/clean out, Gate 1 inspection for replacement, Gate 3 inspection for structural repairs, gate jacking pedestal inspections, valve repairs, Gate 1 turning feet, Gate 3 seal repairs and culvert intake grate repairs. The (miter) gates are the large gates serving as dams at each end of the lock chamber allowing the water to be raised and lowered in the chamber.

Crews also will perform a wide range of other maintenance tasks, from fender timber replacements on the piers to inspections and preventative maintenance on electrical and mechanical systems on both Poe and MacArthur Locks.

More than 4,500 vessels, carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo, maneuver through the locks annually. Iron ore, coal, wheat and limestone are among the most frequently carried commodities. Opened in 1969, the Poe Lock is 1,200 feet long. The MacArthur Lock was opened in 1943 and is 800 feet long.