BISMARCK – Gov. Doug Burgum and Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault applauded Thursday’s successful testing of the Backwater Bridge on Highway 1806 as an important step in rebuilding relations between the state and the tribe.
“Today was an example of how we can collaborate to restore relationships and peace in North Dakota,” Archambault and Burgum said in a joint statement. “The cooperation between state, local and tribal governments illustrated the desire on all sides for a phased reopening of the bridge and resumption of normal traffic and commerce, as well as access to vital human services. As we await the test results, we urge everyone to take this time to enjoy the holidays with their families and loved ones, and continue to remain off the Backwater Bridge.”
Officially known as the Cantapeta Creek Bridge, the 53-year-old bridge has been closed since late October because of safety concerns due to damage related to the pipeline conflict. Core samples taken from the bridge today will be sent to an out-of-state lab for analysis. Results are expected within 30 days, at which time officials will provide an update on the bridge’s condition and an estimate of when it will be safe to reopen.
The North Dakota Department of Transportation, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Morton County Sheriff’s Department, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and federal Bureau of Indian Affairs cooperated in today’s effort.