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Soo Locks now open

The up-bound Motor Vessel H. Lee White, 704-foot long freighter, is the first ship to enter the Poe Lock this season. It is coming from Sturgeon Bay and headed to Superior, Wisconsin to load cargo. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, opened Wednesday, marking the beginning of the 2020 Great Lakes shipping season. (Photo from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Michelle Briggs)

SAULT STE. MARIE — The Soo Locks opened Wednesday to mark the beginning of the Great Lakes shipping season, announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District.

The upbound motor vessel H. Lee White, a 704-foot-long freighter, was the first ship to enter the Poe Lock, coming from Sturgeon Bay, Michigan, and headed to Superior, Wisconsin, to load cargo.

Boats will soon begin to enter the LS&I ore dock at Marquette’s upper harbor, starting with the Maumee at 9 a.m. Friday, the dock reported.

As of today, the Maumee is expected at 9 a.m. Friday at the Lake Superior & Ishpeming ore dock in Marquette’s Upper Harbor. On Sunday, the Honorable James L. Oberstar is due at 3 a.m., the Kaye E. Barker at noon and the Joseph H. Thompson at 7 p.m. Boat arrivals are subject to change.

The Detroit District is taking precautionary measures to protect its workforce while remaining fully operational during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The locks officially closed on Jan. 15 and underwent critical repairs and maintenance during the 10-week-long winter shutdown. Work on the Poe Lock included gate structural repairs, gate anchorage link replacement, gate stressing checks, gate tieback installation, repairs to concrete gate sills, emptying valve and valve machinery repairs, electronics updates and debris removal from the drainage system.

Work on the MacArthur Lock included repairs to the gate operating machinery, inspection of gate anchorages, electronics updates and operating shelter maintenance. The lock, located on the south side of the Poe Lock, will continue undergoing maintenance until mid-April.

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