Lewis and Clark’s $490M Pipeline Work Under Way

Sun June 03, 2007 - Midwest Edition

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) A major construction season is under way for the Lewis and Clark water pipeline, according to Troy Larson, executive director of the $490 million project.

Plans call for building 25 mi. (40 km) of the main line this year, Larson said.

The Lewis and Clark system is a partnership of 15 cities and five rural water districts in South Dakota, Iowa and southwestern Minnesota that would get treated water from wells near the Missouri River through 337 mi. (542 km) of underground pipe.

“This year, we anticipate awarding contracts in value of about $120 to $130 million,” Larson said.

“It will be a record-setting year in terms of contracts we award.”

Sixteen of the 20 pipeline members have prepaid $86.5 million toward the project, he said.

In December, the city commission in Sioux Falls — the pipeline’s biggest customer — approved a $66 million bond issue, the largest in city history, to prepay its share of the water pipeline.

The Lewis and Clark water system will receive $21 million from the federal government for the current budget year — $3.5 million more than expected. President Bush had requested that much, but Congress failed to agree on appropriations last year and passed a huge bill that kept all funding at 2006 levels. The 2006 appropriation for Lewis and Clark was $17.5 million.

Wet weather this spring has slowed down the work somewhat, Larson said.