Winter Shutdown. Soo Locks closed for annual maintenance


The Great Lakes navigational locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan will close for the winter season today, enabling the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to handle a variety of maintenance projects.

In a media release, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announced the seasonal closing of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., from Jan. 15 through March 25. The Corps will use this time to perform critical maintenance on the lock structures.

“It is vitally important that we keep the infrastructure at the Soo Locks in good working order,” said Lt. Col. Dennis Sugrue, district engineer. “The district puts a high priority on keeping the locks functioning safely and reliably for the benefit of our nation.”

While closed to navigation, crews will be busy with a variety of maintenance projects on both the Poe and MacArthur Locks in preparation for another busy season.

Planned winter maintenance work includes: Poe Lock Miter and Quoin Block Replacement, Poe Lock Gate 2 Embedded Anchorage Replacement, Poe Lock Gate 3 Cylinder Seal Replacement, North Poe Lock Valve Maintenance, MacArthur Lock Embedded Anchorage Replacement, MacArthur Lock Filling Valve Seal Replacement, and MacArthur Lock Bevel Gear Replacement.

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. Opened in 1969, the Poe Lock is 1,200 feet long. The MacArthur Lock was opened in 1943 and is 800 feet long.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, maintains a navigation system of 95 harbors, including the Great Lakes Connecting Channels that join lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie.