Detroit District awards contract for maintenance at Soo Locks

Published Aug. 25, 2020
MacArthur Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan at sunrise.

MacArthur Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan at sunrise.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces a contract award to replace aging equipment on the MacArthur Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

The more than $7 million contract was awarded to Ryba Marine Construction Co. The contract (award number W911XK20C0020) was for $ $7,276,650.00 to replace the World War II-era tainter valves for the MacArthur Lock. Tainter valves are used to control the flow of water used for raising and lowering the water level in the lock during a lockage. The MacArthur Lock has two sets of tainter valves, one upstream set and one downstream set.

“The Corps takes pride in performing maintenance to keep its existing facilities operational for long durations, while simultaneously planning for replacement and renewal as required to ensure the locks remain a resilient link in the Great Lakes Navigation System,” said Kevin Sprague, area engineer, Soo Area Office.

Currently, two of the four locks at the Soo Locks complex are operational. The MacArthur Lock is 800 feet long and was opened in 1943. The Poe Lock, opened in 1969, is 1,200 feet long. Construction began earlier this year on a New Lock at the Soo, which will be built in the footprint of the Sabin and Davis Locks. Construction is expected to be operational by 2030. 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.

“The MacArthur lock will continue to be an important asset for many decades, even as we continue to build our new lock, and after that when we complete much needed repairs to our Poe Lock,” said Joanne Gray, chief of construction and technical support, Soo Area Office. “The Corps will continue to invest in maintenance of major components of the Soo Locks.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, maintains a navigation system of 84 harbors, including the Great Lakes Connecting Channels that join lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie.

For more details, please contact Penny Carroll, acting director of public affairs, 313-226-6750. To find more information on the Soo Locks on the Detroit District Website:


Penny Carroll
313-910-0983 (cell)

Release no. 20-031