Construction has been delayed for a year on the first phase of a project Cache County residents hope will lead to a four-lane highway from Wellsville to Brigham City.

Kim Morris of the Utah Department of Transportation confirmed Saturday that two factors have contributed to the delay in plans for widening a 21/2-mile section of U.S. 89-91 from Wellsville to Mount Sterling near the mouth of Sardine Canyon.Morris said problems with processing a required federal permit to discharge fill material into the Little Bear River, which would clear the way for the project to begin, is a major stumbling block.

He said problems with the landscape design for a "park and ride" area near Wellsville also have contributed to the setback.

"The size of the widening project has been scaled down from more than three miles to 2.5 miles," he said. "Originally, a section of more than three miles was due to be improved, but because UDOT is now studying widening the entire highway from Wellsville the entire project has been scaled down."

The estimated cost for the 2.5-mile section is $3.5 million.

Cache County, Logan and chamber of commerce officials have said a four-lane highway connecting with I-15 near Brigham City would provide a needed link to the Wasatch Front and help local economic development.