The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, June 06, 2014

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

New Soo Lockproposal takes hit

Hopes for the construction of a backup lock for the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie took on some water last month, when it was revealed that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn’t feel the cost of a new lock justified the benefits.

For years, Great Lakes shippers, utilities and manufacturers who depend on the Great Lakes and the Soo Locks to ship coal, iron and other bulk materials have petitioned the federal government to free up money to build a twin to the aging Poe Lock, the largest lock at the Soo. A modern lock would provide a backup and allow needed major repairs to be done to the Poe. A decade ago, the estimated cost of a new lock was $225 million.

In a May 22 letter, a group of 11 U.S. senators, including Michigan’s Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reconsider the Corps’ “erroneous assumption” that railroads could supplant the capacity of 1,000-foot bulk lake freighters if the Poe Lock should become disabled. The corps arrived at that conclusion to use a rail as a backup after a March 2014 meeting of stakeholders, including lake carriers, the rail industry, shipping customers, port authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security

“This assumption is incorrect and therefore there is a major flaw in the BCR (benefit to cost ratio).  In addition to the lack of rail availability, there is a lack of transportation connectivity at delivery end-points which means that even if rail were available for all of the shipments transiting the Soo Locks, some customers would be unable to receive deliveries,” the senators wrote.

They urged the Corps to “take another look” at their conclusion, not to twin the Poe Lock.


All Trades tourney raises $18,200

Congratulations to the Michigan Laborers, who won first place in the All Trades Softball Tournament, held May 17-18 at Gier Park in Lansing. Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 333’s team took second place and IBEW Local 665 was the consolation winner.

The other winner was diabetes research: the Maurine Homola of the tournament host, the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, said the event raised $18,200. The money will be sent to the Diabetes Research Institute in Florida as part of the Dollars Against Diabetes campaign.

This was the 25th year for the softball tournament, and during that time $604,477 has been raised by the All Trades Tournament.

It is not too late to make a donation, go to mb and click on the “About” tab and then “Upcoming events.”