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$75M to build new Soo Lock included in approved 2020 federal budget

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
It will cost $1 billion to build a new Soo Lock.

The spending package signed Friday by President Donald Trump includes $75.3 million to begin construction of a new Soo Lock.

Most of the iron ore used in U.S. steel production travels from Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes through the locks in Sault Ste. Marie.

Lynn Rose of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says there’s currently only one lock big enough for larger vessels.

“A failure there in Sault Ste. Marie would have significant impacts on the U.S. economy, especially the steel industry,” she says.

It will take seven to 10 years and $1 billion to build another lock. This money covers the first year of work.

Congressman John Moolenaar (R-Midland) is Michigan’s senior member of the House appropriations committee. After the budget passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday, he called it “historic.”

“This is a project that's been in the works for over 30 years,” Moolenaar says. “Congress has twice authorized funding for a new lock at the Soo Locks, but never was there money appropriated.”

The money is part of a $1.4 trillion year-end deal to fund the government through September of 2020.

Kaye LaFond
Kaye is an alumnus of Michigan Tech's environmental engineering program. She got her start making maps for the Traverse City-Based water news organization Circle of Blue, and, since then, she's been pretty devoted to science communication and data visualization.