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Possible Improvements To Soo Locks To Cost About $1 Billion

a picture of a freighter in the Sault St. Marie Locks
G.L. Kohuth

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says a new shipping lock in Sault Ste. Marie would cost about one-billion dollars to build. President Trump promised to improve the Soo Locks when he visited the Detroit area in April. Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Sugrue commands the Corps’ Detroit District, which manages the locks. He says a new lock is one of his top priorities.

“The Soo Locks are critical not only to our district, but to the nation. You know, the ultimate goal in Detroit district is to ensure reliable maritime navigation on the Great Lakes. And 60 percent of that moves through the Soo Locks.” Sugrue says.

Congress authorized construction of a new lock in 1986, but provided little money to pay for it. Sugrue says engineers deepened approaches to the locks about ten years ago. He says if Congress fully funds the project, it would take seven to ten years to build. A new lock would replace two older locks that are too small for many Great Lakes ships.  

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