Badlands bridge plan now avoids Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch; environmental study is ongoing

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MEDORA, North Dakota — A proposal to build a bridge over the Little Missouri River in southwestern North Dakota no longer includes two alternative routes that would have put it near the site of former President Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch.

The bridge would connect two highways in Billings County. Supporters say it would cut up to 100 miles off some commutes, boost economic development and possibly save lives in an emergency.

Opponents worry that it would detract from the scenery of the Badlands region.

An engineering firm is conducting an environmental study for the county. Project manager Jennifer Turnbow tells The Bismarck Tribune that the Elkhorn crossing recommendations were removed from consideration because they were widely unpopular in public comments accepted in 2012.

A draft of the study will be released within six months.

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