Spokane Journal of Business

Lydig to build BNSF refueling depot in Idaho

Construction set to begin this month on $16 million project near Rathdrum

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Spokane-based Lydig Construction Inc. has landed a nearly $16 million contract to build Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co.s planned locomotive refueling station on North Idahos Rathdrum Prairie.

Lydig expects to begin construction of the project at BNSFs Hauser Yard in mid-April and to finish it by late December 2002, says Lydig project manager Mitch Neeley.

When completed, the refueling depot will serve BNSF trains on their way to and from Seattle. The Fort Worth, Texas-based railroad company has said in the past that the ability to refuel its locomotives in North Idaho will shave about 10 hours off of the typical turnaround time experienced by locomotives departing Seattle, where BNSF refuels trains now.

The depot projectwhich generated a maelstrom of controversy because of its location over the Spokane-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer, which provides drinking water to many Spokane-area and North Idaho residentsis being built on nearly four acres of property west of Rathdrum owned by BNSF. The total cost of the depot, including the cost of track and other equipment, is about $30 million, says Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman in Seattle.

The construction project includes erecting a 445-foot-long unloading platform, where diesel fuel will be unloaded from rail tanker cars; a separate 380-foot-long fueling platform; a tank farm consisting of two, 250,000-gallon holding tanks; and a 750-square-foot fire-protection building.

About 150 people will work on the depot over the course of the construction project, Neeley says.

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