The Lake Superior shipping season will continue for an extra three days to move more taconite pellets to steel companies.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to delay closing the large "Poe" shipping lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan until midnight January 18. The lock normally closes for the winter on Jan. 15.
Army Corps Area Engineer Kevin Sprague in Sault Ste. Marie said ice and weather conditions look favorable for the extension.
"We're still OK right now," Sprague said. "We've got ice throughout the St. Mary's River here. I'm sure the harbors are starting to ice up. The Coast Guard is able to keep things moving right now."
Extending the lock's season three days will allow 10 or more additional ships passage to the lower lakes. However, it also sets back scheduled winter maintenance on the lock about a week.