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County scraps plans for controversial Badlands bridge

July 8, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Officials in western North Dakota will not pursue plans to build a bridge over the Little Missouri River across the property of landowners who objected to the project.

The Billings County Commission scrapped the plans on Tuesday after a long dispute.

The Bismarck Tribune reports the county would have had to use eminent domain to carry out the effort at the site in the Badlands.

The three-member county commission decided unanimously to stop pursuing the project across the Short family ranch. County officials have thought for years about building another bridge over the river.

Family members who opposed the bridge are descendants of former U.S. Rep. Don Short and his father who established the ranch north of Medora. Among their concerns is that the bridge would have drawn oil-related traffic through the property.

Proponents of the bridge said it could help emergency responders gain better access to remote parts of the Badlands, as well as benefit the oil industry and tourism.