BNSF mulls second railroad bridge

Print Article

SANDPOINT — Already flush with bridges, Sandttttpoint could be see one more being built in the near future.

BNSF Railway is contemplating the construction of a second railroad bridge over Lake Pend Oreille, according to regional spokesman Gus Melonas.

“It’s on our radar screen and something that’s being highly considered,” Melonas said.

The proposed bridge would be located near the 109-year-old railroad bridge east of the U.S. Highway 95 Long Bridge. The existing bridge underwent extensive rehabilitation starting in 2008.

A new bridge would be approximately 4,800 feet long and composed of steel piling and concrete spans. Melonas did not have an estimated cost for a new bridge.

Melonas said a new bridge would be subject to extensive geotechnical studies, environmental permitting and corporate authorization to fund the project.

“There’s various factors, but we could see a bridge in place as early as 2018. However, this is speculative,” said Melonas.

A new railroad bridge would eliminate a bottleneck at the convergence of BNSF’s High Line route and a Montana Rail Link route, Melonas said.

BNSF was experiencing peak volumes in 2006, prior to the economic downturn. But as the country pulls out of the downturn, the demand for rail transportation is increasing.

“We are going to be at record volume sooner rather than later. We expect it to soon surpass the record volumes we were handing in 2006,” Melonas said.

More than 50 trains are already passing through Sandpoint every 24 hours, according to BNSF.

“There are double-track areas. However, you have a single bridge for a two-thirds of a mile going over Lake Pend Oreille and this is a bottleneck,” said Melonas.

The bottleneck scenario can become exacerbated if a train has mechanical issue or there is a problem with a section rail, leading to delays and blocked railroad crossings.

“It can have a trickle effect onto the routes that connect here and that can be significant as time is critical in rail operation,” Melonas said.

Print Article

Read More News

Help light up the Fourth

June 19, 2019 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee PRIEST RIVER — The Fourth would not be the same without the community’s annual fireworks show. To help ensure the show takes place, the Priest River Chamber of Commerce is seeking the community’s hel...


Read More

NRCS announces new CIG grant application period

June 19, 2019 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service in Idaho has announced a second application period for grants to support innovative ideas for conservation strateg...


Read More

Lakes meeting is being held today

June 19, 2019 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee PRIEST RIVER — The Idaho Lakes Commission meeting is being held today at the Priest River Event Center. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. It features presentations on local watercraft inspection station...


Read More

Pend Oreille nets weed control grant

June 19, 2019 at 5:00 am | Bonner County Daily Bee Pend Oreille County Commissioners Stephen Kiss, Karen Skoog, and Mike Manus recently signed a Department of Ecology grant supporting $49,999.50 worth of weed control efforts in the Pend Oreille River...


Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2019 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy