BNSF’s New Sandpoint Bridge Open for Enterprise

written by

Bruce E. Kelly, Contributing Editor

The primary practice to cross BNSF’s new Sandpoint Bridge traces a ghostly picture throughout Pend Oreille Lake on the night time of November 20, 2022. All images: Bruce E. Kelly

Fifty years after Burlington Northern consolidated the site visitors of the 2 former routes onto a single line that includes a bridge almost a mile lengthy close to Sandpoint, Idaho, successor BNSF has opened its much-anticipated second bridge. The primary practice to formally cross the brand new construction was an empty coal practice on November 20, 2022 at 9:00 p.m.

At 4,873 toes in size, BNSF’s new bridge throughout Lake Pend Oreille is parallel to an present bridge that has been in service since 1904, and goals to get rid of a single-track bottleneck that has change into more and more detrimental to site visitors movement on BNSF’s northern hall. will assist. The brand new bridge consists of 49 spans, 224 precast concrete girders and 6-pile bent, roughly 55,000 toes of 36-inch pipe piles.

Even after the brand new bridge was in place, trains would repeatedly be seen passing side-by-side over Lake Pend Oreille. BNSF has taken the outdated bridge out of service to renew renovations begun greater than a decade in the past. Lena Kent, Normal Director of Public Affairs at BNSF, says, “The upkeep will embrace changing all 59 of the remaining authentic 1904 bridge spans, together with the now-operational swing span. A number of spans, in addition to all piers outdoors the navigation channel have been changed in earlier tasks. Few remaining pillars will get some minor strengthening above the low-water line.”

Upkeep staff carry out closing monitor surfacing hours earlier than BNSF’s new Sandpoint Bridge goes into service on Nov. 20, 2022.

Whereas enhancements are being made to the outdated bridge over Lake Pend Oreille, BNSF will proceed website preparation for a second principal monitor that may run roughly one mile from the brand new bridge to Sandpoint Junction, the place BNSF connects to the Montana Rail Hyperlink. The historic Northern Pacific Depot in Sandpoint, which serves as Amtrak’s solely passenger cease in all the state of Idaho, can have its platforms reconfigured to make room for a second principal monitor. In any case bridge and monitor work is accomplished in Sandpoint, BNSF can have roughly 53 miles of double-track principal line on Spokane’s jap edge to Otis Orchards, Wash.

By the second week of November, new monitor and ballast have been in place on BNSF’s new Sandpoint bridge (at left), per week earlier than the bridge formally entered service.

Some may say that BNSF’s second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille and the extension of double monitor to Sandpoint Junction has been within the works for half a century. After the 1970 merger that shaped Burlington Northern, varied route segments from the Midwest to the Pacific Coast have been both offered, leased (within the case of MRL), or deserted. Between Spokane and Sandpoint, the BN stopped utilizing the previous Nice Northern Major Line as a via route, leaving elements of it for department line service solely. In 1972, BN accomplished main bridge and monitor tasks in Spokane and Sandpoint, which carried via site visitors from both course on a line between these two cities: the previous Northern Pacific, which earned the nickname “The Funnel”. did.

Amtrak’s Empire Builder—15 hours late resulting from mechanical and weather-related points—stopped at Sandpoint on November 12. BNSF will reconfigure the station platform to accommodate the second principal monitor.

BN made basic enhancements to funnel capability throughout the Nineteen Seventies and 80s by lengthening sidings or making shorter sections of double monitor. After BN merged with Santa Fe to change into BNSF, main doubletracking tasks on The Funnel have been accomplished in 1998 and 2017, leaving solely two quick sections of single-track mains: two miles between East Algoma and Sandpoint Junction and between Otis Seashore roughly 4 Mile Orchards and Irvine, Wash. Preliminary fill and grade work for the Otis Orchards-Irvine Second Major was carried out in 2020, however BNSF is not going to start main work there—which can embrace a second bridge over the Spokane River—till someday after the Sandpoint mission is full.

In 2016, a grain practice crosses BNSF’s present bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. New metal piers and deck sections have been put in in 2008–2009. Enhancements to the 118-year-old bridge will proceed until 2023.

tag: BNSF, Breaking Information

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