Company chosen to build first phase of new Soo Lock

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Nevada company has been selected to perform the first phase of construction of a new Soo Lock in the Upper Peninsula.

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers's Detroit District said Friday they have awarded the work to Trade West Construction Inc. of Mesquite, Nevada.

The project, which will be done in three phases, is scheduled to begin this spring and take about two years to complete. Trade West will receive almost $53 million for its phase of the project.

The Soo Locks are essential to commerce and national security.

"This is an exciting time for the Corps and the Great Lakes. We look forward to working with the contractors and meeting all the milestones in this first phase of the project, which is critical to the success of the entire project." Lt. Col. Greg Turner, district engineer, said in a statement. 

The second and third phases of the project are still being designed.

"Contingent on efficient funding, the New Lock at the Soo project, estimated to cost nearly $1 billion, could be complete in as few as seven years from the start of construction," Mollie Mahoney, project manager, said.

Located on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo Locks enable vessels to transit the 21 foot elevation change at the St. Marys Falls Canal.

The new lock project will build a second 110 feet by 1,200 feet lock on the site of existing decommissioned locks. It will provide redundancy, so cargo can keep moving in case of an unexpected outage of the Poe lock there.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez