New Lock at the Soo construction resumes after winter break

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Work to construct a new lock at Michigan’s Soo Locks facility is set to resume after a winter break.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced last week that the project is on schedule as construction resumes on phase one and preparations begin for phase two. Trade West Construction, Inc., and joint venture Kokosing-Alberici began moving equipment to the site earlier this month.

Trade West continues phase one, deepening the upstream channel to the Sabin and Davis Locks, which will be replaced by the new lock. USACE officials expect phase one will wrap up in November.

Kokosing-Alberici is starting phase two to rehabilitate the upstream approach walls and stabilize the existing approach walls allowing modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock, according to the Army Corp.

Phase two should be complete by fall 2023, with winter seasonal breaks.

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“The Detroit District is looking forward to working with contractors Trade West and Kokosing-Alberici on phase one and phase two of the New Lock at the Soo,” said Lt. Col. Scott Katalenich, commander, USACE, Detroit District. “We recently had a partnering meeting with phase two contractors who are starting this year and are confident this project continues the successful construction of the new lock.”

Phase three – construction of the new lock chamber, will include rehabilitating downstream approach walls and is currently at the 95 per cent design milestone. Bid solicitation should begin this summer with phase three construction starting in spring 2022.

The Soo Locks facility, operated and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, is the District’s largest project and is located on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. on the international border with Canada. Approximately 80 million tons of commercial commodities pass through the Soo Locks annually.

The New Lock at the Soo project is constructing a second Poe-sized lock (110 feet by 1,200 feet) on the existing decommissioned Davis and Sabin locks site.  The Soo Locks are a nationally critical infrastructure and this critical node’s reliability in the Great Lakes Navigation System is essential to U.S. manufacturing, according to a 2015 Department of Homeland Security study on impacts of an unexpected Soo Locks closure.

The project’s completion target is outlined in detail here.

The Soo Locks are a nationally critical infrastructure essential to U.S. manufacturing because of influence on Great Lakes shipping, according to a 2015 Department of Homeland Security study on impacts of an unexpected Soo Locks closure.

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