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Great Lakes lock upgrade to begin

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Plans to build another lock in the Great Lakes capable of handling the largest shipping vessels will proceed now that $32 million has been allocated for the project, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE).

ACOE said it will begin work in 2019 to deepen the approach channel of the Soo Locks complex in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, in preparation for the construction of a second large-vessel lock on the St. Marys River.

This is a rendering of what the Soo Lock might look like with a second large lock, left, in place of the two smaller locks there now. At center right is Poe Lock, currently the only lock capable of handling the largest cargo ships. At far right is the smaller MacArthur Lock. Photo/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The Soo Locks complex, situated on the international border between the U.S. and Canada, enables passage between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Currently, however, only one lock at the complex – the Poe Lock – is capable of handling cargo ships of more than 1,000 feet.

The Corps estimates that the project, which involves combining two of the oldest, smaller locks into one large lock, will take seven years to complete if Congress continues to fund the estimated $1 billion project.

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