After more than 30 years of planning and campaigning for funding the new Soo Lock is almost ready to begin construction.
The project is being done by the US Army Corps of Engineers and Wednesday they held an open house in Detroit to update their current projects and others coming in the near future.
The Corps has been trying to get funding for an additional Lock to be built in the Soo since the mid 1980s and President Trump’s most recent budget proposal includes enough to get started.
The State has thrown more than $50 million into the project as well, citing the importance of improving traffic at the Locks and protecting against shortages of valuable commodities due to a shutdown.
Primary construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2020 and will be the largest project the corps has in the Great Lakes region.
“A project of this size, a $1 billion project, has to compete against other projects in the federal budget and it is hard to justify spending $1 billion on a project,” says Mollie Mahoney, project manager, “But the benefits of this project far away the costs. We have a 2.42 benefit cost ratio for the project.”
The new Soo Lock will also allow them to do maintenance on the other two locks anytime of the year, instead of having to wait for the winter shutdown.