THE SOO LOCKS
The Soo Locks are critical infrastructure for Great Lakes-Seaway shipping and the North American Economy. As one of the largest and busiest waterways on earth, a combination of locks and canals swiftly lift and lower around 7,000 vessels annually. This network helps ships navigate the 21-foot drop in elevation between Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron.
Each year, vessels passing through the Soo Locks haul an estimated 70 million tons of cargo to critical industries in the U.S. and Canada. In total, the infrastructure supports more than 123,000 jobs and $22.6 billion in economic activity.
The new Soo Lock project will construct a second, 1200-foot long lock, to handle thousand-foot vessels on the Great Lakes. The new lock will be situated on the site of the existing Davis and Sabin Locks. Over its 10-year construction period, the new Soo Lock project will support over 1,000 quality jobs and an estimated residual effect of $559 million in labor income impacting the Sault Ste. Marie local economy.
10 YEARS - TOTAL COMPLETION TIME
The new Soo Lock project will construct a second, 1200-foot long lock, to handle thousand-foot vessels on the Great Lakes. The new lock will be situated on the site of the existing Davis and Sabin Locks.
Over its 10 year construction period, the new Soo Lock project will support over 1,000 quality jobs and an estimated residual effect of $559 million in labor income impacting the Sault Ste. Marie local economy.
Allocation - Funds used/projected to be spent
Prior to FY2019: $64.2M
On January 19, 2022, the White House announced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will put $479 million over five years toward the construction of the new lock, providing the remaining funding needed to complete the project - above and beyond the $480 million provided in FY2022.
Estimated Total Project Cost : $1.478B
Timeframe: 7-10 years
PROJECT ECONOMIC IMPACT
- 1,240 jobs created on an annual basis
- 600 direct jobs, 210 indirect jobs, 430 induced jobs
- 1,400,000 tons of limestone or granite
- 112,000 tons of American-made cement
- 25,000 tons of American-made steel
THE LYNCHPIN OF AMERICA
The Soo Locks serve as America’s connection to the global economy, allowing vessels on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system to freely move cargos from the upper Great Lakes outward to the Atlantic Ocean—and back.
The Locks operate nine months of the year to accommodate the largest thousand-foot vessels on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system. Each vessel that passes through the Locks efficiently hauls its cargos—like iron ore for steel and agricultural products for consumption—to support American industries and citizen’s everyday life.
Stories From the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Seaway
There is no one hero in the story of Great Lakes shipping. The economic prosperity of the region is due to the efficient and symbiotic connection of the Great Lakes–Saint Lawrence Seaway, Great Lakes ports, foreign and domestic vessels, manufacturers, labor farmers, and their relationship to their local communities. This supply chain is a foundation of our country’s economy and the backbone of our society. It is America’s Anchor.
The American Anchor series artfully captures the impact of the Great Lakes–Saint Lawrence Seaway System.
The first American Anchor short film tells the tale of the steel-making supply chain, beginning at the iron ore mines of Minnesota, then moving through Lake Superior and the Soo Locks on a freighter destined for the steel making complex at Burns-Harbor, Indiana. From there, the iron ore is followed through production as it’s made into steel that’s used to construct the world around us.
The second American Anchor short film tells the tale of the agricultural supply chain, beginning at farms across the Midwest. After the harvest, agricultural commodities, like grain and soy, make their way to a Great Lakes port. There, the commodities are loaded on a freighter and moved through the largest freshwater lakes in the world. The vessel then makes its way through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean until it reaches its overseas port of call. There, the exported agricultural products are used to produce everything from bread, pasta, soy milk, and vegetable oil to beer, ethanol, and animal feed.
Each year, waterborne transportation in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region is responsible for supporting over 237,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity by moving necessary cargos that support the agriculture, construction, automotive and energy industries.
GREAT LAKES SEAWAY SHIPPING
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway region includes eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. If the region were a country, it would have the 3rd largest economy in the world with a GDP of $5.5 trillion – larger than that of Japan, Germany, Brazil, or the United Kingdom. The region is home to 107 million people and accounts for almost 40 percent of the total cross-border trade between the U.S. and Canada.
Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway shipping is a foundation of this vibrant economy. More than 160 million metric tons of commercial cargo are transported on the waterway each year, providing low-cost and efficient transportation for the manufacturing, mining, agriculture and energy sectors.
The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership is proud to support the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio and the Soo Locks Visitor Center in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan - 100% of all proceeds from poster sales go directly to these Great Lakes maritime institutions.
National Museum of the Great Lakes
Founded in 1944, the Great Lakes Historical Society has been preserving our shared cultural history by publishing a quarterly journal Inland Seas® since 1945; by operating a maritime museum since 1952; by offering educational programs to the general public since 1956; by conducting underwater archaeological research across the Great Lakes since 2001; and by managing the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship since 2014 and Museum Tug Ohio since 2019. The opening of the National Museum of the Great Lakes enables the Great Lakes Historical Society to continue its mission to preserve and make known the important history of the Great Lakes. Learn more.
To purchase posters from the National Museum of the Great Lakes, please click the button below.
Soo Locks Visitor Center
Located within the Soo Locks Park on Portage Avenue, this picturesque park and information center offers visitors to the Sault a tremendous opportunity to experience the engineering marvel that is the Soo Locks. Numerous displays inside the Center chronicle the construction and the men that made the Locks possible. A thirty-minute movie provides a historical perspective on the need and use of this maritime wonder. Learn more.
To purchase posters from the Soo Locks Visitor Center, please visit the center when it reopens on March 25, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the Annual Open House and for the 2022 season May 8, 2022.
If you are not able to purchase the posters, we encourage you to download these printable posters as PDFs for your home or office.