The Utah Department of Transportation expects to begin work on U.S. 189 through Provo Canyon and an accompanying bike trail in early spring.

Alan Mecham, assistant director of UDOT District 6, said the preliminary design for four miles of the road was approved by the Transportation Commission in Friday's commission meeting in Salt Lake City.The road has been the center of a controversy that has delayed construction. It is generally agreed that the current winding canyon road is a safety hazard, but there is no agreement on how to correct it.

The plan adopted by the commission is a compromise solution, incorporating some of the comments made in public hearings last summer. Mecham said an example of a change made based on the public hearings is the addition of acceleration and deceleration lanes for added safety.

The design is the modified multi-use plan. The 50-mile-an-hour stretch of road from the Murdock Dam to the Upper Falls will have a vegetated median about 10 feet wide, Mecham said.

This stage of the bike trail will be five miles long, starting at the mouth of the canyon, said Mecham.

The entire project from the mouth of the canyon to Heber will cost an estimated $88.2 million, said UDOT Public Affairs Officer Kevin Beckstrom. The section from the Murdock Dam to the Upper Falls will cost between $10 million and $15 million.