Congressmen Pete Stauber and Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) will board a ship in Duluth next week and travel through the Soo Locks to highlight the lock system's importance.

In a news release Thursday, Stauber (R-Hermantown) said he and Bergman will board the freighter Roger Blough in Duluth next Wednesday and take it to the Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Stauber, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the trip will help him "learn more about areas in which (the Soo Locks) could be improved."

“Serving as the only waterway connection from Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Soo Locks system is not just central to the Great Lakes economy, but to the national economy and national security," Stauber said.

The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior with the remaining Great Lakes to the east. At 1,200 feet long, the Poe Lock currently is the only one of the Soo Locks able to handle the thousand-foot lakers that move most of the cargo on the Great Lakes.

On Monday, the Poe Lock was shut down for repairs for about seven hours and will need to be shut down again to finish the repairs. While repairing the sill on one of the doors, crews had trouble with the dimensions on one sill as well as underwater welding equipment trouble.

Many have pushed for a redundant lock to prevent delays to the shipping industry when repairs such as Monday's are needed.

Federal funding of almost $1 billion for a new large lock was approved this year with construction expected to begin in 2020.