Monday, July 3, 2017

Soo Locks on the St. Marys River


If a view is looking upstream, then we generally see some of the bridges over the St. Marys River.

A time-lapse video from a boat going upbound (source).

Jason Pechette posted
American Mariner in the soo locks and Joe Block waiting

Public Domain from PostBulletin
The Algoma Guardian enters the MacArthur Lock

Dan Barber posted (source)
Circa 1909 - Sault Ste. Marie: the Sabin Lock empty.
[A nice view of the double-bascule bridge.]

Gerald Vilenski posted
Soo Locks, 1890. The ship up front is the Nelson of Hampton. The rest are too difficult to read...
Mark Lambert
Mark Lambert\
Mark Lambert
Mark Lambert

Emmet McNamara posted
Coming in
[Note the tugboat near the bow that is shoving the boat up against the lock's guide wall. Since we can see the bridges, this boat is downbound.]

Lock dimensions:
  • MacArthur Lock, 1943: 800' x 80' x 29.5'; this can handle salties, but not Lakers (Video from David Kaye)
  • Poe Lock, 1896: 800' x 100'
  • Poe Lock Rebuilt, 1968: 1200' x 110' x 32', this is the one the lakers must use. That length and width can also handle a 15-barge tow. But I suspect barges can't risk being on a Great Lake if a storm hits.
  • Davis lock, 1914: 1350' x 80' x 23.1'; light freighters, tour boats, and small craft when traffic warrants
  • Sabin Lock, 1919: same as Davis but it has been "mothballed."
Canada has a small lock that is used for tour and recreational boats.

Edward Sewell posted
This a swing bridge over the Canadian Lock on the Saint Marys River in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada

I Love Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan posted
Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Since 1986, the Davis and Sabin Locks are supposed to be replaced by one lock that is big enough to handle lakers. They broke ground on June 30, 2009. But it hasn't been funded. (Buying a spade for ground breaking is a lot cheaper than actually building the thing.)

Lukas Iron shared mlive2017
Soo Locks being eyed for Infrastructure upgrades? From Sault St Marie.Ontario..Will it lead to improved rail transportation?

A rendering showing the replacement of the Sabin and Davis with a
second Poe-sized lock. Courtesy of USACE
The replacement of the two unused locks by a $580 million second "laker" lock is on a list of 40 potential U.S. infrastructure "megaprojects." I expected a lot of iron ore and grain to be shipped through the locks, but I was surprised that coal is also shipped. It turns out it is coal from the Wyoming Basin that is transloaded to boats on the west end of Lake Superior. 70% of the freight through the Soo Locks uses the Poe lock.
Clarence Vautier posted
[Downbound boats in both the Poe and MacAurthor locks.]
Danny Thompson shared
On this day in 1913, crews were busy installing a crib dam below the original Poe Lock in preparation for work on the approach canal and piers.
You can browse our entire collection of glass plate images at the Clarke Historical Library's website:…/default.aspx
Danny Thompson shared
This photo from this date in 1893 shows men working on the First Poe Lock. Clearly safety requirements were a little different back then. What things do you see that would no longer be allowed?
Anne Boyd Earle No hard hats; no life jackets or tether lines; is that seriously someone walking on the cables of that crane??? OSHA would have a field day with this.
Terry Mitchell Anne Boyd Earle. Your right but I worked for ACE and our Safety is much Harder than OSHA Ours is more strict in addressing situations. For instance take Cranes We have a much more testing before they are Certified. Plus the riggers have to be Certified to rig a load of say palletized material. And We cover Divers. LOL The list goes on and on.

The last ship through the locks in 2019 was on January 15.
It takes 22 million gallons to raise a ship 21 feet, but 73.3 million gallons have to be pumped out to do winter maintenance. (There are several more photos in this reference that I did not copy including some hard-hat diving to open valves on the floor.) [mlive]

First, they have to build a pile of "stop logs" so the gates can also be dry for maintenance. Each log weighs 49 tons.
Crane Barge Harvey will go down and rest on the bottom of the lock when the water is removed.
After 17 hours of pumping, the lock is ready for inspection.
Two of several photos from mlive showing how they used an industrial vacuum cleaner to clean the muck out of the culverts. I don't know for sure if these are the same culverts. There is a culvert on each side of the lock and they can move a million gallons of water a minute. They are big enough that you can drive a truck through them. Photos courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District
1, before
2, after
Henry Olrogge posted
[Spring is coming, so the 888 is removing the stop gates after the winter repairs.]

Bev Sharw shared
Das Gift Haus posted
When the Soo Locks ( Poe Lock) are very busy and you are on a tour boat with a schedule, sometimes you have to share, with a freighter. We had to get in front to avoid prop wash and be first out. Talk about splitting hairs, we passed it in the Lock. With a veteran 30-year tug boat captain, no problem.
Photo and text by Edw J Reining


USACE posted
On this day in 1907, only 11 days from the opening of the navigation season, crews at the Soo Locks had their hands full removing ice from the Poe Lock.

This photo of Soo Locks is courtesy of TripAdvisor
[If you click the photo on their site, you can navigate through some more historic photos of the locks.]

David Kaye posted
Lee A Tregurtha in the Soo Lock Canal. 7-2-19
[The reason for saving this photo is that the bascule leaves are up.]
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District posted
It was a day of heavy traffic for crews on duty at the Soo Locks on this day in 1892.

Gerald Vilenski posted
A Whaleback entering Weitzel Lock in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. Circa 1910. Looks like the little girl in the foreground may be taking a picture with a box camera...
Paul Mathews Can't get that close anymore

Mike Harlan shared
Del Jackson Probably a Kodak 620.
William Worden This is whaleback barge 131, so she might be waiting for a line from her towing steamer out of the photo ahead of her, or it might be the steamer behind her. There's another photo in the Library of Congress/Detroit Publishing collection that shows 131 in the lock with the Mariska, which would have been her towing steamer.

Ships wait to enter the Poe Lock during summer 2015 during a traffic backup caused by unexpected repairs to the MacArthur Lock.
"The Soo Locks can’t accommodate 1,000-foot freighters today, Sept. 10, [2019,] since its largest lock is out of commission for emergency repairs. This is the second quick fix on the Poe Lock in about two weeks, UpNorthLive reports. The closure could cause a backup at the shipping channel....The Poe Lock is scheduled to be closed to navigation in order to complete repairs to the Upstream Gate 1 sill today, September 10, 2019.
The lock is expected to be closed to traffic for approximately 12 hours, beginning at 9am to allow divers to safely make repairs.
Concrete grouting of the sill is required to mitigate the risk of further concrete degradation. A more permanent repair will be made during the winter shut down period when the lock is de-watered."

A video of "USCG Mackinaw up bound out of the Soo Locks around 12:45 today. 3-19-19."

A video of "Three footers in the Soo Harbor, Mesabi Miner, Paul R Tregurtha, Edgar B Speer on a beautiful summer day. Viewed from the Tower of History. 6-8-18"

A video of "Wilfred Sykes being lowered in the MacArthur Lock then leaving. 7-17-18
Time Lapse Video." There is also a sliver of a CSL boat entering the adjacent lock.

President’s Promise to Fix the Soo Locks Resonates With Sault Residents (source)

New Soo Lock that could employ thousands in Michigan pushes forward
New Soo Lock economic validation study complete, I wonder how many times these locks have been studied to no avail. The problem is that the studies themselves cost money.

U.S. House approves authorization for replacement Soo Lock (source)

State of the locks

Army Corps of Engineers budgets $75 million toward Soo Locks upgrade  $75m struck me as a drop in the bucket (lock?). But a step is better than no steps since 1986 when the new lock was authorized. "If Congress appropriated the requested $75.3 million for the project next fiscal year, it would keep the project on track for completion seven to 10 years from whenever construction starts, said Lt. Col. Greg Turner, district engineer for the Army Corps' Detroit District."
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing a second full-size lock for the complex at Sault Ste. Marie. It would cost about $1 billion. Officials say the proposed 2020 funding would pay to begin construction of upstream approach walls, continue design of the lock chamber and finish upstream channel deepening. Lt. Col. Greg Turner says it would keep the project on track for completion in seven to 10 years. [ClickOnDetroit]

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