New Sault Lock Construction to Begin Next Year
Posted on: December 14, 2018
The “Saginaw” moves through the St. Marys River, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. (Credit: Photo by T. Wurdeman)

$922 Million Overall Project Cost

The Detroit office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“the Corps”) announced in November that it will proceed in 2019 with plans to build a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The overall project cost is $922 million and construction will last 10 years. The Corps has already formally authorized $32 million towards the project, which will be combined with $52 million from the state of Michigan and annual appropriations.

Construction of a new lock will provide additional capacity to the existing Poe Lock, opened in 1969, which now carries over 90 percent of all cargoes. The project will begin with construction of the upstream approach walls and deepening the upstream channel to accommodate modern Great Lakes vessels.

The new lock will be built on the site of the existing Sabin lock, which was operational from 1919 to 1989. The Sabin lock is 7 m/23 ft deep while the new lock will be 9.75 m/32 ft deep to accommodate larger modern vessels.

According to a 2018 study by Martin Associates, Great Lakes shipping through the existing Sault locks provides:

  • $22.5 billion in annual economic activity
  • 123,000 jobs.

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