SAULT SAINT MARIE, Mich (WZMQ) – Friday the 13th marks “Last Freighter Friday” at the Soo Locks in Sault Saint Marie. After the weekend, the season for traveling vessels to and from the passage is over.
As considered a lifeline for the national economy, the Soo Locks are a door for large vessels carrying natural recourses in and through the great lakes. The crews that maintain them say their planning for winter touch-ups starts as early as April. It’s a year-long process looking at the damage and any mechanical issues with the locks. “This year our big focus is around Gates 1 and 3 for the Poe”, says Maintenance Branch Chief, Nicholas Pettit.
The Poe Lock opened in 1969. It’s also the primary lock used by the lake carriers association, where you see a majority of the thousand-foot ships drifting through. Pettit continued that most of the fixing needs to be done during the off-season, due to the lock sometimes requiring dewatering or even technical maintenance under the water level.
“That is our busy time of the year Superbowl is in the winter time, Superbowl for us is in the winter time,
and we’re going to do all the major maintenance that you can’t complete during the shipping season”, said Pettit.
At midnight on Sunday the 15th, the last ship will venture through the locks for the season. To find more information about the Soo Locks, click here.