MacArthur Lock closing for seasonal repair, maintenance

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Soo Locks’ MacArthur Lock will close for the Navigation Season 7 a.m. Dec. 17, 2023, through April 24, 2024, to perform dam safety inspections and routine maintenance.

The Poe Lock will remain open until Jan. 15, 2024, or until commercial traffic ceases, whichever occurs first. The Soo Locks operating season is fixed by federal regulation (33 CFR 207.440).

“The 800-foot-long MacArthur Lock, built in 1943, is 80 years old; the maintenance period is critical to keeping the lock in operation during the shipping season,” Maintenance Branch Chief Nicholas Pettit said.

“The Soo Project Office has been planning for winter work since the start of the navigation season. This highly skilled team is prepared to safely execute a significant amount of work during the annual non-navigation closure period,” LeighAnn Ryckeghem, Operations Manager said. “The work to be performed is specialized, hazardous and logistically challenging, the Soo operations and maintenance teams is experienced, trained and equipped to successfully complete all scheduled inspections, repairs and maintenance activities.”

The MacArthur Lock winter maintenance work includes a dam safety periodic inspection to determine asset performance and conditions. These assessments drive future repairs to ensure the lock stays operational. In addition, crews will also perform a wide range of other maintenance tasks from fender timber replacements on the piers, to inspections and preventative maintenance on electrical and mechanical systems.

To complete the scheduled work, the MacArthur Lock will be dewatered.

The team will install a temporary panel bridge across the MacArthur Lock. This panel bridge will provide the ability to mobilize materials and equipment to the job sites throughout the winter closure.

More than 4,500 vessels, carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo, maneuver through the Soo Locks annually. Iron ore, coal, wheat and limestone are the most frequently carried commodities.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, maintains a navigation system including 81 harbors and channels joining lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie.

For updates about the winter maintenance work at the Soo Locks, as well as other projects around the district, follow the Detroit District Facebook page

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *