Sandpoint Junction Connector Phase II

Sandpoint, Idaho

Award of Merit

Submitted by: Ames Construction

Owner: BNSF Railway

Lead Design Firm: Hanson Professional Services Inc.

General Contractor: Ames Construction

Civil/Structural Engineer: Hanson Professional Services Inc.

Geotechnical Engineer: Delve Underground (formerly McMillen Jacobs)

Environmental Permitting: Jacobs

Subcontractors: Foothills Bridge Co.; Garco; GRL Engineers Inc.; Noble Excavating; Tri-states Rebar

Adding a second main line track to the Sandpoint Junction Connector alleviated a single track chokepoint. The project required three new rail bridges along a four-mile stretch, creating a track that runs adjacent to the existing main line so trains can operate in both directions. Scope of work included construction of a 4,873-ft bridge over Lake Pend Oreille that consists of 49 spans, 224 precast concrete girders and approximately 55,000 ft of 36-in. pipe pile as well as two smaller bridges over Sand Creek and Bridge Street. Work had to happen within a five-month window during low-water season, which the team successfully executed in just one such season, concluding 14 months ahead of schedule. Since a dam that regulates the lake’s water elevation prevented year-round water access, the team used a temporary trestle to build the nearly mile-long bridge. Ames developed a work plan and schedule that allowed for year-round work using barges. Bubble curtain technology helped to suppress noise from the pile-driving operation to protect endangered fish species, achieving an 8 to 10 decibel reduction and exceeding the 5-decibel minimum requirement. The contractor also used a vibratory pile hammer for all pile-driving.