Since I moved to Sandpoint last fall I have read and heard numerous conversations regarding the proposed second bridge across Lake Pend Oreille. I doubt anyone can make a logical argument that the BNSF Railway does not need some capacity relief from the bottle neck caused by the single track over the bridge but is the second bridge the only answer? I have offered an alternative to the BNSF but it apparently was rejected or not considered.
The Union Pacific Spokane sub parallels the BNSF main line from Sandpoint to where they cross north of Athol. Why not consider giving them mutual trackage rights between those points, constructing a track connection where they cross and double track the UP line with a shorter bridge over the river? This would give both carriers essentially a four track main line between those points at equal or slightly more cost than a second long bridge. It might not be practical but I think it is worth some serious thought.