The Utah Permanent Community Impact Board has approved $15 million to help Uintah County pay for a $47 million public-safety complex and jail.

The CIB awarded the county a $5 million grant Thursday and $10 million loan to be repaid over 30 years at 2.5 percent interest. The balance of funding for the project will be sought on the open market.

"Our county jail has been operating at capacity for some time," said Uintah County Commission Chairman Mike McKee, who also serves on the CIB.

The county's current jail was built in 1985 to accommodate 56 inmates. Additional bunks were added four years later to bring the maximum number of beds to 102.

Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell said the number of inmates in the jail frequently exceeds the available bed space. The aging facility — the last in-line jail in the state — suffers from mechanical and structural problems and cannot be upgraded to make use of new technology.

The county's new 192-bed facility, built in a more efficient pod configuration, will double the current jail's capacity and ease overcrowding tied to booming oil and gas exploration, say county officials.

The facility will also house the sheriff's office, county prosecutors and the county justice court.

Construction could begin as soon as 2009.

The CIB awards grants and low-interest loans to mostly rural communities impacted by mining and the extraction of oil and gas on federal land.