Soo Locks open and the 2017 shipping season begins

Published March 24, 2017

DETROIT – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., will open Saturday, March 25, marking the beginning of the 2017 Great Lakes shipping season.

“The up-bound Motor Vessel Stewart J. Cort, a U.S. Flagged 1,000 foot freighter, is expected to be the first ship to enter the Poe Lock,” said Kevin Sprague, area engineer, Soo Area Office. “It will be followed by the down-bound Steamship Phillip R. Clarke

“Navigation is the primary mission of the Detroit District and the Soo Locks is an essential component of the Great Lakes Navigation System,” said Lt. Col. Dennis P. Sugrue, district engineer, Detroit District. “Thanks to our entire dedicated district team in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., for successfully completing another massive winter work program in order to ensure reliability of this critical Great Lakes connection.”

The locks were closed by Jan. 15 and underwent critical repairs and maintenance during the 10 week long winter shutdown. Extensive work was performed replacing embedded gate anchorages and finalizing the switchover to a new hydraulic operating system on the Poe Lock.  Other major efforts included sandblasting, structural repairs and painting MacArthur Lock dewatering bulkheads and several other smaller projects.  The MacArthur Lock, located on the south-side of the Poe, will continue undergoing maintenance until mid-April. 

The Detroit District operates and maintains the Soo Locks along with 94 harbors and connecting channels on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and the portion of Lake Erie that borders the state of Michigan. Located on the St. Marys River, Michigan, the locks have been a part of the Corps’ navigation mission since 1881.

For more details, contact Lynn Rose, Detroit District public affairs chief, 313-226-4680, or Kevin Sprague, area engineer at the Corps’ Soo Area Office, 906-635-3464.

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Lynn Rose
313-300-0662 (cell)

Release no. 17-003