The Great Lakes intrigue me, huge bodies of water with waves, storms, lore like the ocean, a huge shipping industry and a very necessary lock system that gets those ships from one lake to another.

Ever wonder exactly what those locks look like?

The Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, recently drained the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, so they can start doing some winter work.  The locks work as an elevator for ships as they go from Lake Huron to Lake Superior or vice versa; raising or lowering the ship to the level of the lake they’re going to (Lake Superior’s lake level is higher than Lake Huron’s.)

So to be able to take a look at the shipping locks while drained is quite impressive.

They first install logs that help keep the water out of the lock system, and then they have to melt the ice around the gates and drain all the water from the lock. According to the corps Facebook page, it took 16 hours and several 300+ horsepower pumps to drain the Poe Lock, which is the lock the big ships like the 1,000 footers have to use to switch between lakes.

The plan is to replace the gate pieces of the Poe Lock which according to the Corps of Engineers, Detroit District is, "aging and deteriorating infrastructure."

The Soo Locks will be open and operational again for the spring/summer shipping months which start in March.