Great news! The maintenance project on the Sandpoint Junction Connector rail bridge project is now complete, allowing both lines to carry freight simultaneously. On Sunday, August 6, we finished tying together the two tracks in their final configuration.
Construction crews removed a switch and shifted portions of the track at both ends of the bridge. This involved cutting rail, adding new rail, physically moving tracks onto their new alignment, dumping ballast, and using a tamper to lift the track to its final elevation.
Thank you to the Sandpoint community for your patience and support throughout this project.
The new rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille is now complete. Trains have started traveling across the new BNSF bridge as of November 20, nearly a year ahead of schedule.
Completion of the new rail bridge also facilitates maintenance activities, including a modernization project on the original rail bridge. The existing bridge will be closed while crews perform this work, expected to be completed in the middle of 2023. Once improvements are finished, both bridges — running parallel about 50 feet apart — will be open for rail traffic.
Construction of the new Sandpoint Junction Connector bridge is running ahead of schedule. Crews recently completed the bridge girders, curbs, and decks and will continue to lay track, as well as tackle miscellaneous items like waterproofing and handrails through September and October.
In November, we plan to put the new bridge into service and begin an important maintenance program on the existing rail bridge.
As summer boating and recreation season begins, construction on the Sandpoint Junction Connector bridge over Lake Pend Oreille continues ahead of schedule. The project segments over Sand Creek and Bridge Street are substantially complete and girders will continue to be set all summer for the new structure over the lake. Construction will not impede boater access through the Sand Creek channel. But BNSF respectfully reminds boaters and recreationists to avoid the construction area and maintain a wide berth around construction equipment when driving in and out of the channel. It’s a beautiful time of year to enjoy the lake, so let’s all stay safe and have a great summer.
The Sandpoint Junction Connector project is chugging along nicely, with work resuming on the primary structure across Lake Pend Oreille. Crews finished driving all steel piles for the project, while spans between the piers will continue to be set through this summer. Bridge 3.1 across Sand Creek will be substantially complete in May.
The Sandpoint Junction Connector project remains on schedule. Most contractors and project personnel will take a break for the holidays the week of December 27th and will be back to work near the beginning of January.
BNSF Railway wishes you and your loved ones Happy Holidays.
The Sandpoint Junction Connector bridge construction project remains on schedule. Pile driving in the lake will finish up by the end of November. Prime contractor Ames is now setting the bridge superstructure across the Lake Pend Oreille bridge. Work will continue on the Sand Creek Bridge through winter and will not have any impacts on traffic across the US95 byway.
The Sandpoint Junction Connector bridge project is proceeding on or ahead of schedule. As of September 3, all but three piers have been installed for the Lake Pend Oreille bridge, as well as eight spans of girders. Contractors are currently working on the superstructure of the bridge. Progress continues on the installation of the Sand Creek bridge and will continue into the winter months as the lake level draw down continues. The railroad bridge at Bridge Street is substantially complete.
The Army Corps of Engineers has begun their annual drawdown to bring the lake level down to winter pool. Thus, BNSF reminds boaters to be aware, slow down, and use caution when operating watercraft near the construction site.
Construction of the new BNSF railroad bridge across Lake Pend Oreille is proceeding on schedule. Pile driving has been substantially completed over the lake, and construction crews are starting to install pier caps and bridge girders.
During these summer months, we remind boaters and recreationists to avoid the construction area and provide a wide berth to equipment on the lake.
The new bridge will allow for more fluid rail traffic management through the corridor, and it will allow traffic to continue to flow while BNSF performs its regularly planned inspection and maintenance of the bridges. With this in mind, BNSF has identified maintenance work to occur once the new bridge is operational (estimated 2023-2024). We plan to replace eight bridge spans on the existing bridge using the existing work trestle at Dog Beach. This will eliminate the need to construct a second work trestle strictly dedicated to supporting the maintenance work. BNSF has applied for a permit from the U.S. Coast Guard to cover this activity, and is working closely with state and federal regulatory agencies to ensure the highest levels of environmental protection.
Work continues on pile installation for the new bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. In the coming two months, expect to see continued pile installation, permanent pile bracing installation, and the first pier caps set. The new Bridge Street rail bridge is completed and no more road closures are planned for this access to City Beach. Steel fabrication for the bridge at Sand Creek is underway in Spokane, WA, and fabrication for precast concrete pier caps and beams is underway at two Knife River locations.
As the summer pool fill up has commenced, access through the Sand Creek channel for boaters will not be impeded.
As we move into spring, construction continues on the Sandpoint Junction Connector and the project remains on schedule. Approximately 75% of the piles in Lake Pend Oreille have been installed.
Work for this spring includes continued piling installation across Lake Pend Oreille and pile installation at the new Sand Creek Bridge. The new Bridge Street structure is on track for completion in the coming months.
BNSF continues to coordinate closely with the City of Sandpoint and with Bonner County to ensure that construction is minimally disruptive to the community.
Work is continuing on the second bridges over Lake Pend Oreille, Sand Creek and Bridge Street. The first concrete footing at Bridge Street was poured this month, and additional work is underway. The temporary pedestrian sidewalk at Bridge Street has been restored as well. For work at Bridge Street, activities will primarily occur Monday through Friday, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pile driving is limited to the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. within Sandpoint city limits. Additional work this month will include pile installations at all work sites.
Work resumed on the second bridges over Lake Pend Oreille and Bridge Street, as well as the new bridge over Sand Creek at the marina entrance. Work this month will include additional pile installations at all work sites. For work at Bridge Street, activities will primarily occur Monday through Friday, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pile driving is limited to the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. within Sandpoint city limits. Steel and precast fabrication for the three new bridges is under way at regional businesses.
Work continues on the second rail bridge over Bridge Street in Sandpoint, as well as the second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. Construction will be halted for the holidays from December 18th to January 3rd. We wish a Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones from BNSF Railway.
In October, BNSF crews began working on adding a second rail bridge over Bridge Street in Sandpoint. The new bridge will be adjacent to the existing rail overpass. Construction is anticipated to continue through April 2021. The work will require removal and replacement of sidewalks under the new bridge. Pedestrian access on at least one side of Bridge Street will be maintained throughout the project.
Activities will primarily occur Monday through Friday, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pile driving is limited to the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. within Sandpoint city limits. Work also continues on the second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille.
As we move into the fall, construction continues for BNSF Railway’s Sandpoint Junction Connector. So far, 14 out of 50 total piers have been installed for the new bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. This work will continue throughout the fall.
In October, work will begin for a new bridge over Bridge Street in Sandpoint, which will be adjacent to the west side of the current rail bridge. The initial work will consist of excavation and pile driving for the new structure.
BNSF will be working closely with the City of Sandpoint as work on Bridge Street moves forward.
The project has moved into the next phase as the work trestle at the north end has been completed and engineering teams are now primarily focused on permanent pile construction for the new bridge. Additional pile installations will take place this month for the new three-quarter-mile-long span adjacent to the existing bridge.
Work continues on the permanent pile for construction of the new rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. The work trestle at the north end is completed and work is primarily focused on the permanent rail bridge. Work this month will include additional pile installations and site grade working throughout the project limits, including in the vicinity of the Amtrak Depot.
Work has been completed on the new bike path, which will remain open for the duration of the project. Work on the north temporary work trestle is also done. During June, work will continue on the temporary work trestle on the south shore. It is important to note that these trestles will not expand across Lake Pend Oreille. Work includes fabricating pile templates, transferring heavy equipment via barge and tugboat, placing embankment material and pile driving at the south shore. Finally, the construction entrance will be completed this month, concluding traffic control work on Highway 95.
In May, BNSF will continue to work on the temporary bridge over Lake Pend Oreille, and this will include the installation of the first span. BNSF is also continuing work on the new pedestrian tunnel, which will be a permeant fixture of the hike-bike trail. It will be the same style as the tunnel installed by the county underneath Bottle Bay Road.
On May 6, the United States Coast Guard issued a Local Notice to Mariners, which describes the ongoing work for the second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. The first phase of work includes construction of two temporary work trestles at the north shore (Dog Beach) and south shore (near East Algoma), immediately adjacent to and west of the existing single-track bridge. Work barges will be staged from these temporary work trestles, and moved as necessary by a tug. Hours of construction activities will be 0700 to 1900, Monday to Saturday. During this work phase, some navigational channels will be obstructed; however, one of the channels at spans 67 and 68 and half of the existing spans 2 and 3; 14 through 17; 27 through 30; 40 through 43; 53 through 56; 84; and 95 through 97 will remain unobstructed. Vertical clearance of the existing bridge will be unchanged. The temporary work trestles and work barges will have navigation lights and work zone buoys in accordance with the Navigation Rules. During all phases and locations, the noted navigational buoy safety lighting for the work areas will be in place. Please read the Notice for further details.
BNSF began site clearing and grading in September 2019. Most of the grading for phase one of the project is complete. The last of the grading work will be completed after the bridge is in service. The bridge contractor mobilized equipment to the site in March 2020 and began limited work during the lake drawdown period.
BNSF is also paying for and building temporary and permanent trails to ensure that people can use the bike and pedestrian path throughout construction. The pedestrian tunnel being installed by BNSF will be a permanent fixture of the trail. It is crafted in the same style as the tunnel installed by the County underneath Bottle Bay Road.
In April 2020, BNSF plans to start the construction of the temporary access bridge near Dog Beach. Part of this work will include pile driving, and all work will be done in accordance with our permit guidelines. All pile driving activities will be conducted during permitted hours which are as follows:
- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — within the City of Sandpoint, at Bridge Street and Sand Creek
- 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. — for the second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille
The bridge contractor mobilized equipment to the site in March 2020 and began limited work during the lake drawdown period.
BNSF worked on the bike path tunnel, which included pouring footings for the tunnel and placing nearshore fill material. Upcoming work will include setting the new tunnel and starting the in-water work in Lake Pend Oreille and Sand Creek.
BNSF is paying for and building temporary and permanent trails to ensure that people can use the bike and pedestrian path throughout construction. The pedestrian tunnel being installed by BNSF will be a permanent fixture of the trail. It is crafted in the same style as the tunnel installed by the county underneath Bottle Bay Road.
BNSF received final permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Sandpoint Junction Connector Project.
BNSF began upland work on railroad property that lies between Sand Creek and Dog Beach. This included roadway work so that we can build site access located off the highway, building temporary and permanent trail construction to ensure that the bike path can be used throughout construction, and clearing areas for new trail construction and bridge approaches.
On September 5, the U.S. Coast Guard issued the final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for BNSF Railway’s Sandpoint Junction Connector Project.
On April 1, the U.S. Coast Guard extended the comment period for the draft Environmental Assessment to May 1, 2019.
On February 6, the U.S. Coast Guard published public notice 01-19, announcing the availability of a draft Environmental Assessment.
On December 19, the U.S. Coast Guard published two public notices, 05-18 and 06-18, soliciting comments from mariners exclusively related to navigation issues in relation to the project.
On June 22, the Idaho Department of Lands approved BNSF’s permit application.
On May 23, the following BNSF presentation was given at the Idaho Department of Lands public hearings.
BNSF formally submitted the permitting packages.