Sandpoint Junction Connector


The Sandpoint Junction Connector Project added a second mainline track over a distance of four miles in Sandpoint, Idaho, through the construction of three rail bridges. Each bridge required different construction techniques, and the longest of the bridges, a 4,873-foot bridge spanning Lake Pend Oreille, presented significant access and environmental challenges.

Through teamwork and innovation, Ames Construction successfully delivered the project more than a year ahead of the owner’s schedule. In particular, Ames drew on its experience in marine construction to develop a work plan and schedule that allowed construction to continue year-round using barges. Ames also employed several construction techniques that demonstrate how a large project can have a low impact on an environmentally sensitive area. The completed lake bridge is comprised of 49 spans, 224 precast concrete girders, and approximately 55,000 feet of 36-inch pipe pile.

Built adjacent to the existing mainline, the second mainline track eliminates a railway chokepoint by enabling trains to run in both directions. The new mainline improves the flow of freight and passenger trains through the region and eliminates the need for trains to idle and block roadways while waiting to cross the lake on a single track.

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Sandpoint Junction Connector

Market: Class I Rail

Location: Sandpoint, Idaho

Completion: October 2022


  • Marine construction


  • Employed custom pile-driving templates to drive 50 permanent piers
  • Successfully used bubble curtain technology to suppress noise from pile driving to protect fish
  • Finished 14 months ahead of owner’s anticipated schedule
2023 NRC Large Project of the Year

National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC)

2023 Award of Merit

Category: Airport/Transit 
ENR Mountain States Regional Best Projects