[9/6/19] New Railway Bridges Considered

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Federal officials say BNSF Railway’s plan to build two bridges as part of a second railroad line in northern Idaho meets environmental requirements. The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday issued a final environmental assessment for the bridges across Lake Pend Oreille and Sand Creek at Sandpoint, finding no significant impact. The Coast Guard is involved because the structures are over navigable waters. Idaho officials have already approved the bridges. BNSF Railway says it has received permits from the Coast Guard and plans to start preliminary work this week. The company says it’s part of a critical supply chain but the area is a bottleneck that causes trains to backup to Montana and Washington. Some area residents have voiced concern with increased train traffic and hazardous materials such as oil passing through highly populated areas.