More Funding Keeps New Soo Lock Project on Schedule

Thanks to the Michigan infrastructure bill, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will receive $479 million to finish the new Soo Lock project.

The first two phases of the new soo lock have been ongoing but, with this new boost in funds, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be able to offer a contract for the third phase.

“We’ve been letting congress know and headquarters know that we need the funding to keep moving and to get as much as we did was definitely a surprise but a good surprise and it’ll keep this project going,” said Cristina Schnettler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project engineer.

Phase one and two consists of deepening the channel and reinforcing the approach walls.

Phase three is expected to take the longest, possibly lasting six years until completion.

“Constructing the chamber itself, so that’s creating a duplicate of the Poe Lock, 1,200 by 110 foot chamber that’s 32 feet deep,” said Schnettler.Soo Lock Workers

Project Manager Mollie Mahoney said the 10 year project will give plenty of job opportunities as well.

“The new lock project is estimated to support an average of 1,200 jobs each year with an estimated 600 direct jobs, most of which will be on site, so it’s going to be a very busy construction site,” said Mahoney.

Once complete, the new lock will allow for more efficient travel for the many ships that pass through.

“Having this second Poe size lock will eliminate our single point of failure in our supply chain of iron ore so the ships right now, if the poe goes down, most of them will be stuck on either side and having the new lock means if one of the locks goes down we have a backup option to get ships through,” said Schnettler.

The total estimated cost for installing a new lock in the soo is about $1.3 billion and is expected to be complete by 2030.