Army Corps of Engineers Calls for New Soo Lock

“This has been a number one priority for Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula and I think it’s finally going to come to fruition.”

The prospect of getting a new super lock in the Sault took a giant step closer to reality today.

For the first time, the Army Corps of Engineers is calling for a new lock.

It comes after the release of their updated economic validation study, Friday afternoon.

“This is great news not only for Sault Ste. Marie, the Upper Peninsula, the entire state of Michigan, but rather for the entire country,” 37th District State Senator Wayne Schmidt, said.

On engineers day comes one of the biggest announcements about the locks in recent years.

The updated Army Corp of Engineers study nearly tripled the benefit cost ratio of a new Poe-sized lock.

“To have this economic study come out that 2.4 rating, that’s huge, anything over 1 is great, but to have 2.4, recognizes the national security impacts, the economic impact, how important the Soo Locks are, and getting that twinning of the Poe.

An upgrade in the Sault is now a national priority.

“When you are ranking and stacking the priority of projects across the country it means now that the Army Corps has really jumped the Soo Locks modernization way up,” 1st District Congressman Jack Bergman, said.

Rep. Bergman says the next step is securing the nearly $1 billion the project will cost.

“It will need to be reauthorized in the water infrastructure bill, WRDA ,if we can do this by the end of the year the project could be in the presidents’ FY-20 budget proposal,” Bergman, explained

Lawmakers are optimistic that in the next couple years we could finally see the project funded, and with it would come many jobs to the Upper Peninsula.

“When that federal money comes in, we’re in a great position to take advantage of it,” Sen. Schmidt, said.

“We are talking thousands and thousands of jobs, good-paying jobs and many of those jobs will continue,” he, added.

The Army Corps of Engineers estimates the building of a new lock would take between seven and ten years to complete.