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Long-anticipated boat lock project at Sault Ste. Marie shelved

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The Army Corps of Engineers says it will not use federal stimulus money to build a new boat-lock on the east edge of Lake Superior.

The half-billion-dollar project at Sault Ste. Marie has been on the books for years.

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It would be a back-up for a facility that lets 1,000-foot freighters gain access to Lake Superior.

Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers Association says the shipping industry is shocked over the Corps' refusal.

It said the new lock would have created jobs using American-made materials and the work could have started right away, which would made it perfect fit for a stimulus project.

But Lynn Duerod of the Army Corps says the new lock will take 10 years to build, and it wants stimulus projects to be finished faster.

The Corps says it's still committed to the project, and will keep seeking regular budget dollars for it. Congress first authorized the back-up lock in 1986, but it never allocated the money.

Earlier this year, Congress approved $17 million for water-tight walls at the lock site.

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