The Great Lakes commercial shipping season is set to get underway with the reopening of the navigational locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
The Soo Locks raise and lower ships moving between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. They close for a couple months each winter for repairs and maintenance when ice usually covers substantial portions of the upper lakes.
The locks are scheduled to reopen Saturday.
This year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the upgrades included replacing gate anchors and completing the switch to a hydraulic operating system on the Poe Lock. The MacArthur Lock underwent sandblasting, structural repairs and painting.
The first ship to pass is expected to be the Stewart J. Cort, which is heading upstream. It will be followed by the down-bound Phillip R. Clarke.