FOLEY (WJON News) -- Benton County Commissioners have given the go-ahead to hire an engineering firm to design the extension of County Road 29.

Benton County Administrator Monty Headley says the extension has been discussed for years as a direct route to the St. Cloud Airport from Sartell and Sauk Rapids.

Headley says they already own the right of way and are requesting a $5-million federal appropriation to build the two miles of roadway. A roundabout will be built at the intersection of County Road 29 and Mayhew Lake Road and the extension will gradually curve to the southeast, cross over Golden Spike Road, and connect with County Road 58/80.

The extension would also double as part of a beltline around the St. Cloud metro area being spearheaded by the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization.

The county is entering into a contract with WSB Engineering for design and survey work. Headley says they have the money set aside to cover the contract which is approximately $520,000.

The $5-million federal earmark is being held up in Washington as part of ongoing federal budget discussions, and there's no indication on when the county will learn whether it stays in the bill.

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