The first two contracts in the eventual reconstruction of the causeway to Antelope Island were approved Wednesday by the Davis County Commission.

Acting on a commission request, the Utah Department of Transportation recently agreed to turn the ruined causeway over to the county for reconstruction, using state funds.The state Legislature provided for the funding as part of a construction bond sale, and $3 million is earmarked for the project by the state Parks and Recreation Division.

On Wednesday, the county approved a contract for up to $17,000 to determine the quality and quantity of rock and other fill material on the island that will be used to rebuild the causeway.

A second contract for up to $8,000 for a preliminary engineering study on redesigning the causeway was also approved.

Davis County Public Works director Sid Smith said he believes an adequate causeway can be constructed for $3 million. It would be gravel, probably not paved, and be built up to around the 4,208-foot elevation level.

"Three million should about do it," Smith said. "Four million (dollars) would have been better, but it's better than $2.5 million."

UDOT estimates called for a causeway built up to between 4,215 and 4,217 feet, to withstand wind and wave action, at a cost of up to $14 million.

The county suffered one disappointment, however. The state Parks and Recreation Division informed the commissioners that instead of turning over the $3 million from the bond sale that will be available about July 1, the state agency will keep the money.

The county will have to submit pay requests to the state and draw money out of the fund as work progresses. The commissioners hoped the state would turn over the money in a lump sum so the county could invest it, earning interest.

Smith estimated if construction gets underway shortly, the causeway could be built in about a year.

That doesn't mean the island, which is owned by the state Parks and Recreation Division would be available to visitors next spring, Smith said, but it would allow contractors and state parks employees better access to the island to begin rehabilitating the facilities there.

Smith said the county's road department may help in the causeway construction but the majority of the work will be awarded to contractors.