The first load of bedrock arrived from the Upstream Channel Deepening of the New Lock at the Soo project on Thursday, July 16, in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division.
Phase one of the project, upstream channel deepening, will facilitate the construction of a new Poe-sized lock in the place of the existing Davis and Sabin Locks.
The three major phases of the project remain on track with their timetables virtually unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic at this time.
Phase two involves rehabilitation of the upstream approach walls, which will stabilize the existing approach walls to allow for modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock.
The third phase, construction of the new lock chamber, will include rehabilitating downstream approach walls and is nearing its 70% design milestone.
Nationally critical infrastructure
The Soo Locks are situated on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and allow vessels to transit the 21 foot elevation change at the St. Marys Falls Canal.
Over 85% of commodity tonnage through the Soo Locks is restricted by vessel size to the Poe Lock.
This new lock project will construct a second Poe-sized lock (110′ by 1,200′) on the site of the existing decommissioned Davis and Sabin locks.
According to a 2015 Department of Homeland Security study on the impact of an unexpected Soo Locks closure, the Soo Locks are nationally critical infrastructure and the reliability of this critical node in the Great Lakes Navigation System is essential to U.S. manufacturing and National Security.