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      Lower Great Lakes open for business

      The U.S. Coast Guard says it has wrapped up more than four months of icebreaking to open shipping lanes on the lower Great Lakes.

      Five U.S. and three Canadian vessels worked to clear paths on Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, and southern Lake Huron.

      Air crews with the Coast Guard's Detroit station and the Canadian Coast Guard provided information about ice concentrations that enable ships to be deployed where needed most. Crews assisted 184 vessels.

      The icebreaking work began December 15 and ended Monday. The icebreaking season was considerably longer than last year's, which began January 3 and ended March 23.

      Work continues to break ice for ships on Lake Superior and the northern sections of Lakes Huron and Michigan.