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MacArthur lock expected to not open until June 15

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Cruise ships and fishing vessels have begun venturing into the Great Lakes as Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start of summer.

But passing through the Soo Locks will not be without some delay.

"And there's projected to see even more cruise ships," said James Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers Association, a group that represents the interests of commercial shipping.

"So, the lock demand is significantly up, and will continue to increase. And some of those can be managed by the Mac lock. So, there's clearly efficiency gains when the re-Poe comes online," said Weakley.

Ships are being delayed up to 90 minutes due to increased pressure on the only operational passage, the Poe Lock. The MacArthur Lock is still under repair. Engineers are trying to fix World War II era machinery.

"The Poe is arguably the most significant piece of infrastructure in the entire Federal government," said Weakley. "And without a backup, and remember, rail can't move the cargo. So there's no backup for that cargo. There's no modal trans shift that can take place."

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers says they do not anticipate the MacArthur to be up and running until June 15, but are shooting for earlier.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.