SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WLUC) - Arriving just in time for the midnight Monday opening of the Poe Lock, the 1000-foot long Stewart J. Cort officially kicked off the 2019 navigation season at the Soo Locks.
The Soo Locks opening also marks the beginning of the 2019 Great Lakes shipping season, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, says.
"Maintaining navigation on the Great Lakes is one of the Detroit District's core missions and the Soo Locks is really the linchpin of the Great Lakes Navigation System," said Lt. Col. Greg Turner, district engineer, Detroit District, in a press release. "While we are aggressively moving out on building the new lock at the Soo, we must remained focused on keeping the existing infrastructure in good working order. The incredible team of dedicated professionals in Sault Ste. Marie and Detroit, Mich., deserve our thanks for successfully completing another massive winter work program. I couldn't be more proud."
The locks were officially closed on Jan. 15 and underwent critical repairs and maintenance during the 10-week long winter shutdown.
Extensive work was performed on the Poe Lock including weld inspections and repairs on the upstream gate, replacement of anchorage links for the dewatering gate, minor repairs and inspection on the intermediate and downstream gates, and underfloor drainage cleaning.
The MacArthur Lock underwent repairs to the filling and emptying valve bulkhead slots and replacement of anchorage links for the dewatering gate and intermediate gate. A formal periodic inspection was also completed. The MacArthur Lock, located on the south side of the Poe, will continue undergoing maintenance until mid-April.
The Detroit District operates and maintains the Soo Locks along with 94 harbors and connecting channels on lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and the portion of Lake Erie that borders the state of Michigan. Located on the St. Marys River, Michigan, the locks have been a part of the Corps' navigation mission since 1881.