This article is taken from the Aug. 10 USDA Grain Transportation Report.

Last weekend, BNSF Railway (BNSF) completed its Sandpoint Junction Connector Project in Sandpoint, ID.

Located in Northern Idaho, Sandpoint is a key junction where BNSF’s Northern Transcon line meets the Montana Rail Link line, north of Lake Pend Oreille.

Built in 1904 to accommodate a single track, the original Sandpoint bridge crosses the lake and connects to a line leading to Spokane, WA.

In recent years, when this single-track bridge had handled all the rail traffic over the lake, there had been a bottleneck, where trains waited to cross the bridge one at a time.

After completing a second bridge over Lake Pend Oreille in late 2022, BNSF closed the original bridge for upgrades.

With those upgrades now in place, both bridges are fully operational and able to run trains in both directions simultaneously.

The Northern Transcon line is a key grain shipping route that connects grain producers in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana to export terminals in the Pacific Northwest.