SAULT STE. MARIE, Michigan — Another cargo shipping season is underway on the upper Great Lakes.
The navigational lock complex at Sault Ste. Marie was to open Wednesday just after midnight after being closed since January 15 for routine maintenance.
The Soo Locks on the St. Marys River are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They lift and lower vessels so they can move between Lakes Huron and Superior.
Area Engineer Kevin Sprague says there's still a lot of thick ice on both sides of the locks. He says the Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw is preparing to lead the initial convoy of ships to ports in Lake Superior, where they will pick up loads of iron ore.
Sprague says icebreaking work probably will be needed for another month because of the cold winter.