In response to Courtney Wallace’s treatise on the safety procedures for BNSF railroad (Daily Bee, Dec. 20), I don’t think anyone disagrees with the effort currently being made. In light of the fact that BNSF experienced four derailments in the Pacific Northwest within as many years, it is encouraging to hear they are finally being proactive. Also, most people agree it is nice to have more semis off the road and have freight hauled by train.
However, Ms Wallace totally ignores the other facts regarding opposition to a second bridge crossing Lake Pend Oreille.
In the last couple of years, I have had several occasions to pass under the Pine Street overpass. During rainy or snow melt conditions, I inevitably had oily drips on my car. How many oily drips fall into the lake from any of the bridges crossing the lake and other waterways?
I cross the Long Bridge almost daily. There have been several occasions where I have seen trains stopped on the tracks north of the bridge going north, as well as trains stopped on the south of the bridge going south. That does not look like the bridge is creating a bottle neck. Ah, and what about the trains stopped on the bridge?
What it boils down to is BNSF has a difficult time scheduling train traffic. The Sandpoint area is already rife with train traffic and an additional bridge is only going to exacerbate the issue. Common sense dictates that if an area is saturated, one should reroute traffic through a different area.
A second bridge is not going to ease traffic. If anything, the roads with at-grade crossings are only going to get worse as BNSF brings more trains through Sandpoint. (If BNSF wants another bridge, they should replace all at-grade crossing within city limits.)
And where is the economic benefit to Sandpoint? BNSF does not load and unload freight here … we are merely a “passing through” area. All our goods are trucked here!
As I see it, an additional bridge will only make our traffic worse, the noise worse, the waterways “oilier” and our little town despoiled. And God forbid, the havoc if another derailment ever did happen.