Public Notice Manager

Fall Protection Around The MacArthur and Poe Locks, Bridge Anchor Points for Temporary Bridges Across MacArthur and Poe Locks and Handrails Around the MacArthur Lock Gates, St Marys Falls Canal (Soo Locks), Sault Ste Marie, MI

Published April 5, 2023
Expiration date: 5/5/2023


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Detroit District, is proposing work at St. Marys Falls Canal (Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan). The work includes the following: adding additional fall protection at the MacArthur and Poe Lock chambers, installing bridge anchoring points at the MacArthur and Poe Lock chambers, and MacArthur Lock handrails replacement (Enclosure 1). This project constitutes an “undertaking” under Section 106 of the NHPA. This notice is provided pursuant to Section 800.6 of 36 C.F.R Part 800, Protection of Historic Properties, and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 54 U.S.C. § 300101 et seq. A copy of this public notice can be provided upon request or can be reviewed online at by clicking on the link to “Other Public Notice” in the bottom left corner.

Fall Protection for Soo and MacArthur Locks Chambers: During the navigation season, for any maintenance or inspection activities that require approaching lock chamber walls, the USACE personnel are required to wear safety harnesses, secured to mooring points to reduce the fall risk, per an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirement (OHSA 1917.112(b)(1) which requires a guard rail at least 43 inches in height near an opening. Line handlers cannot use safety harnesses during mooring activities, as it poses a risk of entanglement with the mooring lines. During the winter maintenance season, the USACE utilizes temporary plastic barriers around dewatered locks to reduce the fall risk.

The USACE has determined that additional safety measures, such as guard rails or concrete walls, are needed along the MacArthur and Poe Locks to meet current OSHA standards.

Additional safety measures would help reduce the risk of a person falling into an empty or filled lock chamber, or a person being crushed between a vessel and a lock wall (the railing/wall will also reduce or eliminate the risk of drowning).

Bridge Anchor Points (and Cut Out Recesses) for Temporary Bridges Across the MacArthur and Poe Locks: During the winter work season, the USACE places bridges across the MacArthur and Poe Locks for vehicle access. The bridges rest on top of the lock walls and require ramps for vehicle access, which present a slip hazard due to winter weather. Installing bridge anchoring into cutout recesses would allow the bridges to be flush with the lock wall surface and alleviate the need to use ramps. The recesses will be filled with concrete fill block when not in use.

Handrails Around the MacArthur Lock Gates: The handrails around the MacArthur Lock Gates have been damaged from physical impacts and corrosion. Additionally, the existing handrails are not of sufficient strength to withstand impacts from Cushman carts or snow removal equipment. Installation of new handrails would provide more extensive fall protection and would be more resistant to physical impacts and corrosion.

For this undertaking, the USACE has determined that the Area of Potential Effect is the boundary of the Soo Locks NHL/NRHP property as visual impacts will be limited to the facility itself (Enclosure 1). Physical impacts would be limited to the MacArthur and Poe Lock chambers.

An Alternative Analysis Document detailing the alternatives being considered can be provided upon request or can be reviewed online at by clicking on the link to “Other Public Notice” in the bottom left corner.

Based on the Alternative Analysis, the USACE has tentatively selected an alternative for each element of the undertaking:

Project Element

Tentatively Selected


Preliminary Effect


Fall Protection around

MacArthur and Poe Locks

Alternative 7

Adverse Effect

Bridge Anchor Points for

Temporary Bridges

Alternative 2

No adverse effect

Replacement of Existing

Handrails Around MacArthur Lock Gates

Alternative 3

No adverse effect


The USACE has reached a preliminary determination of “adverse effect” as defined under 26 CFR 800.6 regarding the overall undertaking, due to the impacts to the historic viewshed by the proposed parapet walls and railing associated with the fall protection around the MacArthur and Poe Locks.

In addition to this public notice, the USACE has and will continue consulting with the National Park Service, federally recognized Tribes, and the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The USACE may alter or change the alternatives being considered or this preliminary determination of effect based on any comments or feedback received from the public, SHPO, NPS, federally recognized Tribes or other consulting parties. After consultation, if the USACE makes a final determination of an “adverse effect”, the USACE will pursue a Memorandum of Agreement with consulting parties to minimize or mitigate the adverse effect.

In accordance with Section 800.6 of 36 C.F.R Part 800, the USACE is requesting any concerns or comments regarding the proposed work be submitted within thirty (30) days from the date of this notice. If no comments are received by the end of the thirty (30) day review period, it will be assumed that no comments are forthcoming. Please provide all comments by email to


Public Notice:

Alternative Analysis: