Skip to content

Great Lakes shipping season set to begin March 25

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will kick things off by opening the Poe Lock
The Great Lakes shipping season is scheduled to open March 25. Photo supplied

The Great Lakes shipping season is slated to open March 25. Operations are fixed by federal regulation and driven in part by the feasibility of vessels operating in typical Great Lakes ice conditions. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, Soo Project Office will kick things off by opening the Poe Lock at 12:01 a.m., according to a news release.

The Poe Lock closed Jan. 16 to undergo critical repairs and maintenance during the 10-week winter shutdown.

Maintenance crews performed a variety of  tasks, including Gate 1 anchorage component repairs such as replacing concrete, Gate 1 lifting lugs and turning feet, underfloor drain system inspection, Gate 1 structural inspection for future replacement, Gate 3 inspection for structural repairs, gate jacking pedestal inspections, valve repairs, Gate 3 seal repairs and culvert intake grate repairs. The (miter) gates are the large gates at each end of the lock chamber.

The gates open and close allowing ships to enter and leave the lock and prevent water from entering or exiting the lock while boats are lifted or lowered.

“Crews also performed a wide range of other maintenance tasks including fender timber replacements, electrical and mechanical systems inspections, and preventative maintenance on both the Poe and MacArthur Locks and floating plant maintenance,” Maintenance Branch Chief Nick Pettit said.

Contractors also worked on the Poe Lock ship arrestor project. OCCI of Missouri, was awarded the contract in July 2021, for $17.5M after awarded options. This winter they completed the new downstream arrestor equipment buildings, installed the new arrestor 
machinery and replaced the arrestor boom.

“This winter a portion of maintenance projects on Gate 1 required the Poe Lock to remain full while others required the lock to be dewatered,” Pettit said.