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Soo Locks shipping traffic may be impacted by repairs

The Tim S. Dool exits the Poe Lock southbound in May 2016.
David Cassleman
The Tim S. Dool exits the Poe Lock southbound in May 2016.

The Soo Locks came to a halt on Monday as the large Poe Lock was shut down to complete emergency repairs.

Eighty-six percent of all traffic that passes through the Soo Locks goes through through the Poe. At 1,200 feet long, 110 feet wide and 32 feet deep, the lock is the only one that can transport modern freighters from Lakes Superior and Huron.

On Monday, traffic was halted so divers could fix areas of concrete erosion that were structurally concerning.

Soo Locks Civil Engineer Beverly McCreedy said maintenance closures like this will affect ships coming through the Poe over the the next few days.

“When we have an unexpected issue come up and we have to shut down navigation, it does ripple through the entire system. It will slow the traffic down for a few days,” she said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still hoping to start construction on a new lock in the next few years to help keep navigational traffic moving in case of emergency repairs in the future.

McCreedy said if the Soo builds a new lock they'll be able to keep traffic moving during the navigational season and make more permanent repairs.