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Friends of the Rail Bridge group say they’re ‘shocked’ state officials won’t join bridge ownership discussion

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) — Debate continues over what to do with the railroad bridge that spans the Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway operates on the bridge and said the structure has reached the end of its useful life. BNSF plans to build a new crossing and then demolish the old bridge. Friends of the Railroad Bridge said the structure is state-owned, historic, and cannot be torn down without approval from the State Historical Board. They want to preserve the bridge and make it a walking path.

This week, state officials decided not to enter the ownership debate. FORB representatives said they were “shocked” that the attorney general and state officials did not speak out on the matter.

FORB issued a statement on Wednesday: “FORB will do its best to confront BNSF, the U.S. Coast Guard and all others who attempt to ‘railway’ through this project without addressing fundamental issues of ownership and without following the law and the guidelines that are supposed to govern this process.

BNSF said the ownership discussion is a delaying tactic.

State officials said they have discussed and monitored the situation.

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