USACE awards largest contract for work on the Soo Locks project

Kokosing Alberici Traylor, LLC (KAT), a joint venture headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, has won the $1.068 billion contract for the Phase 3 of the New Lock at the Soo in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The contract allows construction to begin on the largest phase of the project which includes the new lock chamber and rehabilitation of the downstream approach walls.

Corps of Engineers officials expect Phase 3 construction will start this summer. “USACE looks forward to beginning construction on the new lock chamber later this summer, and we continue to work hard to maintain the pace and continue to make progress toward New Lock at the Soo total project completion in summer 2030,” said New Lock at the Soo Project Manager Mollie Mahoney.

With Phase 1 nearly complete and Phase 2 scheduled for completion in summer 2024, the third construction phase is a big milestone for the project.

A major cost increase led to a five-month contract award delay while the Corps of Engineers developed necessary reports to deliver a new cost estimate for reauthorization to Congress. The cost increase root causes are changing market conditions, inflation, a nationwide labor shortage, design modifications and early estimate assumptions.

“We recognize funding a larger amount for the New Lock at the Soo is a challenge that could potentially result in schedule impacts,” said Deputy District Engineer Kevin McDaniels. “The Corps of Engineers is partnering with industry and federal agencies to find collaborative solutions aimed at addressing the cost impacts to Corps of Engineers programs and projects nationwide.”

The project’s first phase to deepen the upstream channel began in spring of 2020 and is substantially complete with punch-list items and final cleanup remaining. The project’s second phase to rehabilitate the upstream approach walls began in spring of 2021 and is scheduled to be complete summer of 2024.

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 88 percent 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 existing decommissioned Davis and Sabin locks site.

For more information about the New Lock at the Soo project, please click HERE.

Photo: USACE