A resolution urging the federal government to upgrade the Soo Locks, located between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes, moved forward this week following a rare joint hearing of the Michigan Senate Commerce, Transportation, and Economic Development and International Investment committees.
Senate Resolution 105 also called on government to approve a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers request to fund an Economic Reevaluation Report for replacing the Davis and Sabin locks.
Approximately 10,000 vessels travel through the locks annually, carrying 80 million tons of iron ore, coal, grain, and other cargo. Nearly 80 percent of domestic iron ore, the primary material used to manufacture steel, travels from mines in the Upper Peninsula and neighboring states through the Soo Locks.
Currently, only one of the four Soo Locks is large enough to accommodate the modern vessels that commonly traverse the Great Lakes. Seventy percent of cargo is carried on the large ships that can only pass through the Poe Lock. The remaining cargo goes through the smaller MacArthur Lock, while the 100-year old Davis and Sabin locks are rarely used.
“A new lock is essential to having the ability for shipping to properly serve the economies of the Great Lakes states and the nation,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker. “Senate Resolution 105 is critical to moving the process forward.”