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Seaway and Soo Locks close late



The St. Lawrence Seaway closed for the season on Dec. 30, after staying open for a record 284 days, one day longer than the previous record set in 2006, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. said.

The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., closed Jan. 19, three days later than usual at the request of shippers, according to the Corps of Engineers. This enabled over 400,000 tons of cargo to move through. The Corps operates and maintains the locks as part of the Great Lakes navigation system.

During the 2011 navigation season, 4,040 cargo vessels passed through the Soo Locks carrying almost 75 million tons of iron ore, coal, grain and other commodities, according to the Corps. In addition to cargo vessels, a total of 3,175 tour boats, private boats and other recreational vessels used the locks this past year.

“The locks are the linchpin of the Great Lakes navigation system, facilitating the transport of important commodities,” said Lt. Col. Michael Derosier, district engineer for Corps’ Detroit District. “We are proud of our responsibilities to operate and maintain the locks.”

While closed to navigation for the next two months, crews will be busy with a variety of maintenance projects on both the Poe and MacArthur Locks in preparation for another busy season.

The Detroit District maintains a navigation system that includes 95 harbors and the Great Lakes connecting channels that join lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie.

The locks are scheduled to re-open March 25.




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