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.