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Rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille opens early

November 21, 2022

Grain, lumber, groceries, holiday gifts, and other goods started traveling across the newly constructed BNSF rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille on Sunday. The Sandpoint Junction Connector bridge is opening nearly a year ahead of schedule. The completed bridge is 4,873 feet in length, comprised of 49 spans, 224 precast concrete girders and six-pile bents totaling approximately 55,000 feet of 36-inch pipe pile.

“We are excited about the benefits this second bridge brings, including reducing congestion and helping to move current rail traffic more efficiently,” said Matt Jones, Director of Public Affairs for BNSF. “Mostly though, we are incredibly grateful to the residents of Sandpoint and the greater Bonner County area for their patience and support throughout the three-year construction of the new bridge.”

BNSF’s mainline track meets up with Montana Rail Link at Sandpoint previously creating a bottleneck where multiple tracks merged into a single track to cross Lake Pend Oreille.

The second bridge will allow trains to run in both directions, reducing the need for trains to stage and idle while waiting to cross the single track on the existing bridge. As a result, the flow of freight and passenger trains will be improved throughout the region.

The completion of the new rail bridge will also facilitate 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.

For Sandpoint Junction Connector bridge information and to sign up for ongoing project updates, visit www.keepsandpointrolling.com.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
6619 Kaniksu St., Rm 19
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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