- Associated Press - Saturday, July 19, 2014

TWIN BUTTES, N.D. (AP) - The Three Affiliated Tribes is considering a plan to build a new bridge across the Little Missouri River to connect to a reservation town that’s currently isolated.

The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation bridge could cost up to $100 million and help reconnect the town of Twin Buttes to the rest of reservation, according to the Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/1jGmQcV ).

Ron Hall, of Bubar and Hall Consulting, said his company was hired to resurrect the decades-old bridge project as part of a reservation-wide transportation study. He said tribal members must decide if a bridge is in their best interest and hopes a decision whether to proceed could be made early next year.

The plan resurrects a $26 million version that was authorized by Congress four decades ago but never funded to bridge Charging Eagle Bay about four miles west of where the Little Missouri River flows into Lake Sakakawea.

Hall said a bridge would help connect Twin Buttes, which is cut off by the river on the west and Lake Sakakawea on the north. It would allow faster emergency response and more safely concentrate oil truck traffic through the Twin Buttes and Mandaree area, Hall said.

Twin Buttes community board member Jeb Fredericks said that he’s concerned a new bridge will expose the town to heavy oil traffic, drugs and crime, but noted that a bridge will help connect a reservation that was split apart by the creation of Lake Sakakawea by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1940s and 1950s.

“We’ve been segregated since they built Garrison Dam. If they build a bridge, people will use it,” Fredericks said.

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