Contract Surety

Expansion: The Soo Locks System


Supply chain challenges have underscored the importance of infrastructure builds aimed at supporting a smooth flow. Take, for example, the much needed expansion of the Soo Locks system in Michigan. Chances are good that the steel in your next appliance or car purchase is going to need to pass through.


80 Million Tons?

That’s the volume of commercial commodities, like heavy-duty domestic steel, that pass through the Soo Locks each year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Right now, the “newest” lock in the system, built in 1969, is the only one that can handle the largest and heaviest freighters. As Construction Dive reports, the federally funded expansion effort is critical:


The New Soo Lock project in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, will receive $479 million. The new 1,200-foot-long lock along the St. Mary’s River will replace two inactive locks and be wide enough to allow 1,000-foot freighters to traverse. Nearly all domestically produced high-strength steel used to manufacture products like cars and appliances is made with iron ore that must pass through the locks at the Soo…Right now, only one lock, the Poe, can handle freighters of that size. The project will eliminate this single point of failure in the country’s iron ore supply chain, according to USACE Detroit District Deputy District Engineer Kevin McDaniels. 

“The Soo Locks are nationally critical infrastructure, and their reliability is essential to U.S. manufacturing and National Security,” McDaniels said in… “A failure of the Poe Lock would have significant impacts to the U.S. economy, especially the steel industry.”


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Port Infrastructure?

With land transport also strained, ambitious port improvements, like those underway in Baltimore, are a source of optimism. In all, $17 billion of the federal infrastructure commitment has been allocated to tackle challenges like bridge and depth limitations that prevent aging ports from receiving the modern container ships that get more goods flowing. An additional $241 million in grants from the United States Maritime Administration Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP) has also been allocated for 25 port projects in 19 states. In a hurry to get going? Leverage The Partnership Account for Contractors® to produce Your Own Bid Bonds—in minutes—and more:


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Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.