The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie are shutting down to marine traffic to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform critical maintenance.
The locks on the St. Mary’s River between Lake Superior and Lake Huron are expected to be closed from Saturday (January 15) to March 25, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
The complex consists of several locks that raise and lower vessels between Superior and Huron which have a 23-foot elevation difference.
Each year, the Army Corps of Engineers uses the winter months for maintenance. Work this winter is expected to include hydraulic steel structure inspections, pier inspections, preventive maintenance on electrical and mechanical systems, structural repairs and seal replacement.
“It is a difficult time in terms of weather to complete this work, but it keeps this important national infrastructure project operating during shipping season,” Soo Area Engineer Kevin Sprague said.
More than 4,500 vessels, carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo on the Great Lakes, use the locks each year. (AP)