Soo Locks opens, 2016 shipping season gets underway

Published March 25, 2016

DETROIT – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., opened Friday, March 25, marking the beginning of the 2016 Great Lakes shipping season.

“The up bound Motor Vessel Roger Blough, an 858-foot freighter, was the first ship to enter the Poe Lock at 12:01 a.m.,” said Mark Aldrich, lockmaster. “It was followed by the down bound Motor Vessel Edwin H. Gott.”

“The Soo Locks are a vital component to the Great Lakes Navigation System,” said Lt. Col. Michael L. Sellers, district engineer. “I am proud of the entire District team in Sault Ste. Marie for successfully conducting another aggressive winter work program in order to ensure reliability of this critical link.”

The locks were closed on Jan. 15 and underwent critical repairs and maintenance during the winter shutdown. Crews had somewhat of a reprieve to the harsh conditions experienced over the past two winters and have performed extensive maintenance on several different items related to the Poe Lock’s Miter Gates. The work involved completion of the installation of a new hydraulic operating system and continued interim repairs to the embedded gate anchorages.  Other major efforts included sandblasting, structural repairs and painting of MacArthur Lock dewatering bulkheads.  The MacArthur Lock, located beside the Poe, will continue undergoing maintenance for several weeks.

The Detroit District operates and maintains the Soo Locks along with 91 harbors and connecting channels on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and the portion of Lake Erie that borders the State of Michigan.

For more details, contact Jeff Hawk, Detroit District acting public affairs chief, 313-226-4680. Detroit District photos are available on Facebook:



Jeff Hawk

Release no. 032516-01