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Soo Locks

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Detroit District
Published Jan. 10, 2024
Updated: April 9, 2024
December 26, 1889 Lock pit St. Marys Falls Canal showing lower chamber lock of 1855 condition of old lock looking west.

The first lock at the Soo carried freight canoes around the rapids on the Canadian side of the river. American forces destroyed it during the War of 1812. For the next 40+ years, cargo had to be carried around the rapids. Since the opening of the State Lock on the U.S. side in 1855, there have been locks in continuous operations here. The entire Soo Locks facility is on the National Historic Register.

The M/V Happy Rover and Tug Wyoming lock through the MacArthur Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Crews at the Soo Locks complete over 7,000 lockages during the 42-week-long navigation season. The locks operate 24 hours a days, seven days a week allowing government, commercial and private vessels to quickly pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

Stop log (bulk heads) openings allow the lock to be re-filled with water after winter maintenance is complete.

Despite changes in machinery and power sources, today's locks work much as they did 200 years ago. By opening and closing valves, water moves in and out of the lock chamber using only gravity. Over 22 million gallons of water move through the Poe Lock every time a boat is raised or lowered.

The main hydro power plant, (named the New Power Plant) was built between the years 1949 – 1951 and contains four generating units, Units 1, 2, 3, 3A.  Units 1, 2, and 3 have a generating capacity of 5,500 kilowatts and are each individually driven by a 6,975-horsepower turbine.  Unit 3A has a generating capacity of 2,500 kilowatts and is driven by a 3,000-horsepower turbine.

Hydro electric power has been a part of the Soo Locks since 1888. Two hydro electric plants at the Soo Locks together generate 150 million kilowatt hours of electricity which powers the facility and provides baseline power for the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lock and dam line hander moors the Philip R. Clarke in the Poe Lock.

Crews at the Soo Locks complete over 7,000 lockages during the 42-week-long navigation season. The locks operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week allowing government, commercial and private vessels to quickly pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

Aerial image of the Soo Locks facility looking west at the New Lock at the Soo construction to the north of the facility.

There are five locks that connect Lake Superior to Lake Huron through the St. Marys River, four on the U.S. side; MacArthur Lock (1943), Poe Lock (1969), Davis Lock (1914), and Sabin Lock (1919) and one Canadian lock.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are planning the 2022 Soo Locks Engineers Day with visitors allowed across the locks, the first since before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Visitors are welcome into the Soo Locks facility and across the locks 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday, June 24.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are planning the 2022 Soo Locks Engineers Day with visitors allowed across the locks, the first since before the COVID-19 Pandemic. Visitors are welcome into the Soo Locks facility and across the locks 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday, June 24.

The Soo Locks are owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District. The Soo Area office is responsible for 75 miles of binational channels and 13 Great Lakes harbors and channels.

Welcome to the Soo Locks
Over 7,000 ships a year transit the Soo Locks
The M/V Happy Rover and Tug Wyoming lock through the MacArthur Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Crews at the Soo Locks complete over 7,000 lockages during the 42-week-long navigation season. The locks operate 24 hours a days, seven days a week allowing government, commercial and private vessels to quickly pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
The M/V Happy Rover and Tug Wyoming lock through the MacArthur Lock in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Over 7,000 ships a year transit the Soo Locks
Crews at the Soo Locks complete over 7,000 lockages during the 42-week-long navigation season. The locks operate 24 hours a days, seven days a week allowing government, commercial and private vessels to quickly pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
Photo By: Carrie Fox
VIRIN: 231128-A-WR196-1017
Crews at the Soo Locks complete over 7,000 lockages during the 42-week-long navigation season. The locks operate 24 hours a days, seven days a week allowing government, commercial and private vessels to quickly pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
22 million gallons of water to lift a boat
Stop log (bulk heads) openings allow the lock to be re-filled with water after winter maintenance is complete.
Despite changes in machinery and power sources, today's locks work much as they did 200 years ago. By opening and closing valves, water moves in and out of the lock chamber using only gravity. Over 22 million gallons of water move through the Poe Lock every time a boat is raised or lowered.
Stop log (bulk heads) openings allow the lock to be re-filled with water after winter maintenance is complete.
22 Million Gallons of Water to Lift a Boat
Despite changes in machinery and power sources, today's locks work much as they did 200 years ago. By opening and closing valves, water moves in and out of the lock chamber using only gravity. Over 22 million gallons of water move through the Poe Lock every time a boat is raised or lowered.
Photo By: Michelle Briggs
VIRIN: 230310-A-YU979-1584
Despite changes in machinery and power sources, today's locks work much as they did 200 years ago. By opening and closing valves, water moves in and out of the lock chamber using only gravity. Over 22 million gallons of water move through the Poe Lock every time a boat is raised or lowered.
Over 150 million kilowatt hours of electricity
The main hydro power plant, (named the New Power Plant) was built between the years 1949 – 1951 and contains four generating units, Units 1, 2, 3, 3A.  Units 1, 2, and 3 have a generating capacity of 5,500 kilowatts and are each individually driven by a 6,975-horsepower turbine.  Unit 3A has a generating capacity of 2,500 kilowatts and is driven by a 3,000-horsepower turbine.
Hydro electric power has been a part of the Soo Locks since 1888. Two hydro electric plants at the Soo Locks together generate 150 million kilowatt hours of electricity which powers the facility and provides baseline power for the Eastern Upper Peninsula.
The main hydro power plant, (named the New Power Plant) was built between the years 1949 – 1951 and contains four generating units, Units 1, 2, 3, 3A.  Units 1, 2, and 3 have a generating capacity of 5,500 kilowatts and are each individually driven by a 6,975-horsepower turbine.  Unit 3A has a generating capacity of 2,500 kilowatts and is driven by a 3,000-horsepower turbine.
Over 150 million kilowatt hours of electricity
Hydro electric power has been a part of the Soo Locks since 1888. Two hydro electric plants at the Soo Locks together generate 150 million kilowatt hours of electricity which powers the facility and provides baseline power for the Eastern Upper Peninsula.
Photo By: RICHARD MACDONALD
VIRIN: 100524-A-A1424-1023
Hydro electric power has been a part of the Soo Locks since 1888. Two hydro electric plants at the Soo Locks together generate 150 million kilowatt hours of electricity which powers the facility and provides baseline power for the Eastern Upper Peninsula.
National Historic Landmark
December 26, 1889 Lock pit St. Marys Falls Canal showing lower chamber lock of 1855 condition of old lock looking west.
The first lock at the Soo carried freight canoes around the rapids on the Canadian side of the river. American forces destroyed it during the War of 1812. For the next 40+ years, cargo had to be carried around the rapids. Since the opening of the State Lock on the U.S. side in 1855, there have been locks in continuous operations here. The entire Soo Locks facility is on the National Historic Register.
December 26, 1889 Lock pit St. Marys Falls Canal showing lower chamber lock of 1855 condition of old lock looking west.
National Historic Landmark
The first lock at the Soo carried freight canoes around the rapids on the Canadian side of the river. American forces destroyed it during the War of 1812. For the next 40+ years, cargo had to be carried around the rapids. Since the opening of the State Lock on the U.S. side in 1855, there have been locks in continuous operations here. The entire Soo Locks facility is on the National Historic Register.
Photo By: US Army Corps of Engineers
VIRIN: 891226-A-A1424-1008
The first lock at the Soo carried freight canoes around the rapids on the Canadian side of the river. American forces destroyed it during the War of 1812. For the next 40+ years, cargo had to be carried around the rapids. Since the opening of the State Lock on the U.S. side in 1855, there have been locks in continuous operations here. The entire Soo Locks facility is on the National Historic Register.
Welcome to the Soo Locks
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lock and dam line hander moors the Philip R. Clarke in the Poe Lock.
Crews at the Soo Locks complete over 7,000 lockages during the 42-week-long navigation season. The locks operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week allowing government, commercial and private vessels to quickly pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lock and dam line hander moors the Philip R. Clarke in the Poe Lock.
Lock Operations
Crews at the Soo Locks complete over 7,000 lockages during the 42-week-long navigation season. The locks operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week allowing government, commercial and private vessels to quickly pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
Photo By: Carrie Fox
VIRIN: 240116-A-WR196-1063
24/7 Crews at the Soo Locks complete over 7,000 lockages during the 42-week-long navigation season. The locks operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week allowing government, commercial and private vessels to quickly pass between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

 


Contact
Public Affairs
906-259-2841
lrepao@usace.army.mil