Soo Locks open and the 2018 shipping season begins

Published March 23, 2018

DETROIT – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., will open Sunday, March 25, marking the beginning of the 2018 Great Lakes shipping season.

“Although, we have yet to know which ship will be the first through the locks this year, several ships are scheduled to leave their lay-up ports Friday, so we expect a very busy opening day,” said Kevin Sprague, area engineer, Soo Area Office. “People can check the district Facebook page for first boat photos and updates through the weekend.”

“The Soo Locks are a critical connection in the Great Lakes navigation system and we are dedicated to their reliability,” said Lt. Col. Dennis P. Sugrue, district engineer, Detroit District. “Thanks to our talented team at the Soo Locks. We have completed several critical maintenance projects this winter. We are ready for another great navigation season on the Great Lakes.

The locks were officially closed on Jan. 15 and underwent critical repairs and maintenance during the 10 week long winter shutdown. Critical repairs and maintenance to the Poe Lock during the shutdown included replacement of gate anchors, miter blocks, quoin blocks, and cylinder seals.   Final work on Poe Lock operating system controls was completed.   The MacArthur Lock dewatering bulkheads were sandblasted, repaired and painted.  Work on the MacArthur Lock included replacement of gate anchors, bevel gears and filling valve seals.  The MacArthur Lock work will continue through 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. Detroit District photos are available on Facebook:



Lynn Rose
313-300-0662 (cell)

Release no. 18-016