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Lewis & Clark Regional Water System awards $14.3 million for pipeline construction

lews and clark RWS map
Courtesy of Lewis and Clark RWS
Current construction map of Lewis and Clark Regional Water Service lines

The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System has awarded $14.3 million to Carstensen Contracting for the final segment of the Madison service line in the eastern part of the state.

"In total, that service line is 42 miles, we divided that into five different segments. And so this is the last of those five segments," said Executive Director Troy Larson. " We're excited to finally have the entire Madison service line under contract and ready to be constructed."

Larson said the idea for the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System started in the 1980s and construction began in earnest in 2004.

"So we've been at this a very, very long time. And we're roughly 93% complete. So the good news is, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel," Larson said. "But when I say 93%, complete, people might think, well, you'll be done, you know, tomorrow. And that's not the case, we still have probably four or five years to go to complete this project. So we're making good progress, but we still have a ways to go."

Larson said the low bid for the project was $1.9 million above their original budget due to inflation.

Larson thinks the importance of this project can't be understated.

"Water has been taken for granted for so many years in the Midwest, and it is becoming such a scarce commodity. There is all kinds of economic development opportunities that have been turned away in this region because of the lack of water," he said. "Without water, you cannot have economic development, you cannot have the high quality of life that we expect."

Later this year, the regional water system will award contracts for a one million gallon ground storage reservoir a few miles east of Madison, and additional pumps at the Crooks pump station. These are the last two contracts needed to deliver water to Madison.

Megan hosts All Things Considered and the SDPB News podcast.