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SUPERIOR, Wis. - The U.S. Coast Guard is beginning to break the ice on Lake Superior and officials say the process will be difficult this year.

The director of the Coast Guard's Vessel Traffic Services, Mark Gill, says it's the most ice he's seen on the lake in 25 years. Gill says the record-setting cold winter has ice exceeding 42 inches on the Superior side of the harbor and up to 36 inches of plate ice on the Duluth, Minn. side.

Gills tells Wisconsin Public Radio that they'll use commercial tugs to help get boats moving by March 17.

He says the "lakers" are already asking for help to leave the harbor later this month. The Soo Locks are set to open March 25.

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