- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota transportation officials say tests of a bridge damaged during protests of the Dakota Access pipeline show the span is structurally sound.

The Backwater Bridge north of Cannon Ball has been the site of several clashes between protesters and police. It has been closed since October, when protesters blocked it with burning vehicles. In December, core samples were taken to see if the fires caused damage.

State Department of Transportation Director Grant Levi says Thursday that the bridge is sound, but needs repairs. Authorities say they won’t reopen the bridge until they are assured that “no criminal activity” will take place.

Protesters worry about the pipeline’s effects on drinking water and on Native American artifacts. Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners says the pipeline will be safe.

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