TEA, S.D. (KCAU) — Work on the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System (L&C) is continuing after officials awarded a contract of more than $16,000,000 to continue work on part of the system in South Dakota.

The L&C announced in a release that the Board of Directors awarded Halme Construction the $16,541,369 contract to work on 16 miles of 32 remaining miles on the Madison, S.D., service line on April 28. Halme Construction of Lake Norden, S.D., will work on the southern end of the service line, installing 16-inch diameter PVC pipe.

L&C Executive Director Troy Larson said that they expect future bids for work on the system to be over what has been budgeted.

“The low bid was unfortunately $4 million more than what was included in our original budget, but was not surprising for all the reasons we hear about every day. We expect these budget-busting bids to be the new abnormal for the foreseeable future,” said Larson.

The Madison service line already has 10 miles of pipe constructed, with 5 miles on the south and north ends.

L&C is non-profit wholesale provider of water to its 15 member cities and rural water systems in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa, and southwest Minnesota.

Bids for the last 16 miles of pipeline will open in May. Officials also expect bids to open bids for 17 miles of pipe between Hull and Sheldon, Iowa. Another contract will be awarded for a meter building at Sheldon and a storage reservoir east of Madison. After these infrastructure projects are completed, water will be able to be delivered to Madison and Sheldon in late 2023 or early 2024.