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Work is advancing on two BNSF Railway Co. bridges this spring, one near Sandpoint, Idaho, and the other over Drano Lake in Skamania County, Washington.
BNSF is continuing work on a temporary rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint. Construction crews are building a second rail bridge adjacent to the existing rail bridge, and are currently working on a temporary span. That span will be taller than the eventual permanent bridge, which will be the same height as the existing bridge that BNSF is replacing, BNSF officials said in a recent company newsletter.
The first stage of construction involves two temporary work trestles at the north shore (Dog Beach) and south shore (near East Algoma), BNSF officials said. The project also will include a new pedestrian tunnel connecting to an existing hike and bike trail and will be similar in style to the tunnel that runs under Bottle Bay Road.
The bridge replacement project is part of BNSF's larger Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, which also will include new bridges over Sand Creek and Bridge Street in Sandpoint. The upgrades are aimed at reducing congestion and moving freight-rail traffic and future volumes more efficiently, BNSF officials say on a project website.
Meanwhile, construction crews are driving pilings for two main piers that will support the new BNSF rail bridge over Drano Lake in Washington. The new structure will replace a century-old BNSF bridge over Drano Lake that serves a BNSF route that operates east from Vancouver along the northern side of the Columbia River.
The new bridge will span 440 feet and include a 360-foot central steel through-truss span. It is part of BNSF's larger effort to upgrade its Washington statewide rail network, company officials said in the newsletter.
Once construction of the bridge's two main piers are completed, the finished truss will be loaded onto a barge and floated up the Columbia River to its final location.