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Corps Awards $1 Billion Soo Lock Phase 3 Contract to Kokosing Alberici Traylor LLC

Posted on July 27, 2022

The Detroit Engineer District anticipates Phase 3 construction of the new lock chamber at Soo Locks on the St. Mary’s River between Lake Huron and Lake Superior will start this summer, following the July 1 award of a $1.068 billion contract award to Kokosing Alberici Traylor LLC.

Kokosing Alberici Traylor LLC is a joint venture of Kokosing Industrial (Westerville, Ohio), Alberici Constructors (St Louis, Mo.) and Traylor Bros. (Evansville, Ind.). Kokosing Industrial is the lead partner in the joint venture.

“The Corps of Engineers looks forward to beginning construction on the new lock chamber later this summer, and we continue to work hard to maintain the pace and continue to make progress toward New Lock at the Soo total project completion in summer 2030,” said Mollie Mahoney, New Lock at the Soo project manager.

With Phase 1 nearly complete and Phase 2 scheduled for completion in summer 2024, the third construction phase is a big milestone for the project. A major cost increase led to a five-month contract award delay while the Corps of Engineers developed necessary reports to deliver a new cost estimate for reauthorization to Congress. The cost increase root causes are changing market conditions, inflation, a nationwide labor shortage, design modifications and early estimate assumptions, the Corps said.

With continued funding, the remaining work, valued at $803.95 million, may be awarded over the next three years. Phase 3 construction is expected to take seven years.

Since the project was authorized in America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, the “Project Fully Funded Cost” has risen from $1.031 billion to $3.189 billion. That measure allows for escalation through the construction midpoint and anticipates what the project will cost.

“We recognize funding a larger amount for the New Lock at the Soo is a challenge that could potentially result in schedule impacts,” said Deputy Detroit District Engineer Kevin McDaniels. “The Corps of Engineers is partnering with industry and federal agencies to find collaborative solutions aimed at addressing the cost impacts to Corps of Engineers programs and projects nationwide.”

The project’s first phase to deepen the upstream channel began in spring 2020 and is substantially complete with punch-list items and final cleanup remaining. The project’s second phase to rehabilitate the upstream approach walls began in spring 2021 and is scheduled to be complete in summer 2024.

The Soo Locks are situated on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and allow vessels to transit the 21-foot elevation change at the St. Marys Falls Canal. More than 88 percent of commodity tonnage through the Soo Locks is restricted by vessel size to the Poe Lock. This new lock project will construct a second Poe-sized lock (110 by 1,200 feet) on the existing decommissioned Davis and Sabin locks site.


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