Soo Locks project to enhance US steel industry

Rendering of Soo with new lock on left. Credit: USACE

The critical Soo Locks development project will support the US steel industry and update decades-old infrastructure

A long-planned, massive project to boost efficiency, capacity, safety, and redundancy at the Soo Locks (Soo) is gathering steam. Located at the northern tip of the state of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the Canadian border, Soo is a crucial waterway system that enables about 90% of the iron ore used for US steel production to transit between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes.

The lock system consists of the Poe and MacArthur locks, plus the lesser-used Davis Lock and the closed Sabin Lock. The system is there to allow about 10,000 vessels a year to bypass the rapids on Saint Marys River. The future lock (the New Soo Lock), at 366 m long, 33.5 m wide, and 9.7 m deep, will match the dimensions of Poe, which is by far the most used lock at Soo by tonnage. The New Soo Lock will also encompass the Davis and Sabin locks.

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