Backwater Bridge Deemed Structurally Sound; Remains Closed

Highway 1806 is closed at Backwater Bridge near encampments. Native News Online photo by Jason Quigno

Published January 12, 2017

CANNON BALL, NORTH DAKOTA – The Canatpeta Bridge on Highway 1806, more commonly known as the Backwater Bridge, near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, has been deemed structurally sound by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT).

“The test results show that the fire damage did not affect the structural integrity of the bridge and that it is considered structurally sound,” according to a release from the North Dakota Joint Information Center.

The bridge is in need of guardrail repairs and some surface repairs. This could take some weeks due to the weather.

However, the bridge will remain closed because the North Dakota governor’s office and Morton County Sheriff’s Department are assured the is “no criminal activity will take place and federal law enforcement has been introduced into the protest camp to restore law and order.”


The bridge has been closed since October 27 because of safety concerns due to stress related to a fire that took place during a protest.

In December 2016, the NDDOT took  core samples from the bridge and sent them to an out-of-state lab for evaluation.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wants the bridge reopened because its closure impedes travel from Bismarck to its reservation. Tribal officials said the closure has caused economic harm and prevents emergency vehicles from reaching the reservation.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum met before Christmas to discuss the possibility of getting the bridge reopened.








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