Lanes remain closed following train derailment

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(Photo by KEITH KINNAIRD) No injuries were reported at a BNSF Railway train derailed in Cocolalla on Monday morning.

COCOLALLA — Officials for railway company BNSF have asked the Idaho Transportation Department to keep both southbound lanes of U.S. 95 closed for the next 24 to 48 hours after a train hauling grain derailed in Cocolalla.

More than 20 hopper cars hauling corn derailed early Monday morning at Cocolalla Flats, spilling grain and posing a danger to drivers on Highway 95. There were no injuries or hazardous material released after the cars jumped the tracks on the four-lane stretch of U.S. Highway 95

The derailment thinned the four-lane section of highway to two lanes while front-end loaders scooped up buckets of corn and railroad track ballast rock that spilled onto the highway,

BNSF immediately closed southbound lanes to travel, placing flaggers on the road to direct two-way traffic on the northbound lanes.

ITD engineers have been unable to determine the extent of the damage the derailment caused. Primary concern focuses on an approach to U.S. 95 where the cars derailed, according to ITD officials.

Department crews will continue to work with BNSF to ensure safe travel near the derailment, Mike Lenz, ITD North Idaho Operations, said.

The procession of 110 train cars were being hauled by three locomotives traveling from St. Cloud, Minn., to Kalama, Wash., according to BNSF. The derailment occurred on a stretch of track that sees 60 trains per day, including the Amtrak route that links Chicago to Seattle with stopovers in Sandpoint.

The cause of the derailment remained under investigation.

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