The Soo Locks will close to all marine traffic beginning at 11:59 p.m. Jan. 15 through 12:01 a.m. March 25 to perform critical maintenance.
Each year, the Army Corps of Engineers uses the winter season to performance maintenance to keep the Soo Locks operating.
“It is a difficult time in terms of weather to complete this work, but it keeps this important national infrastructure project operating during shipping season,” said Soo Area Engineer Kevin Sprague in a statement.
The Corps of Engineers has several projects to complete during this time.
“The dewatering gate will be used at the lower end and stop logs will be set at the upper end of the Poe Lock to allow work and inspection to occur on the Poe Lock,” Maintenance Branch Chief LeighAnn Ryckeghem said in a statement. “Sequencing for the Poe Lock dewatering efforts require full operations and maintenance staffing including weekend and holiday work from Jan. 15-21.”
A team will install a temporary panel bridge across the Poe Lock. This panel bridge will provide the ability to mobilize materials and equipment to the job sites throughout the winter closure.
Maintenance crews will complete Poe Lock hydraulic steel structure inspections, miter gate bottom girder structural repair and seal replacement, miter gate pintle concrete repairs, dewatering system maintenance and floating plant maintenance. The miter gates are the large gates that serve as dams at each end of the lock chamber allowing the water to be raised and lowered in the chamber.
In addition, crews will also perform maintenance from fender timber replacements on the piers to inspections and preventative maintenance on electrical and mechanical systems on both Poe and MacArthur Locks.
The Corps of Engineers is building a second Poe-sized lock to provide much needed resiliency in the Great Lakes Navigation System. The second Poe-size lock, 110-feet by 1,200-feet, is being built on the existing Davis and Sabin Locks sites. The Davis Lock, which opened in 1914, has not used since 2018, and only to transport Corps vessels.