A highway contractor, whether a person, partnership or corporation, engages in highway construction work. Under South Dakota law, highway construction means all work performed by vehicles, machinery or equipment within the right-of-way in the construction, reconstruction, repair or maintenance of public highways. "Public highways or roads" are defined as any way or place, including waterways and snowmobile trails, open to the use of the public for vehicular, snowmobile or watercraft travel. This definition includes those ways or places temporarily closed for construction, reconstruction, maintenance or repair.
In order to obtain a public highway or street contract awarded by the state of South Dakota, or by a county, a township or a municipality within the state, a bidder must be a licensed highway contractor.