The obstacles to construction of a new transportation corridor through western Davis County are diverse, ranging from miles of protected wetlands to the outcome of a proposed corporate merger.

And, there's always money - in this case, lots of it.But planners and transportation officials are moving forward, trying to get various interested and affected parties on board to figure where such a corridor might go.

When it was first proposed as the West Davis Highway, a four-lane, Redwood Road-style thoroughfare running through the west side of the county to relieve congestion on I-15, there was little support, especially in the Utah Legislature.

But the concept was broadened to include western Weber County and, more importantly in the political equation, the western section of Salt Lake County around the Salt Lake airport.

That's when the concept began to move forward, fueled by a $600,000 feasibility study funded by the state.

That study, which planners hope will delineate both a development concept and a corridor, should be done in 18 months.

"We're going to hold their feet to the fire on that time line," said Rep. Marda Dillree, R-Farmington, one of the proposal's primary backers. "Some consultants have told us getting it done that quick will be a miracle. Others have told us that's more than enough time. But we're sticking with it."

Several "partnering" meetings have been held, bringing together the diverse groups ranging from environmentalists to utility companies and railroads that will be affected by a new highway and rail corridor.

The most ambitious scenario being looked at is to build a new four-lane highway, move the railroad tracks that run parallel to I-15 farther west, and include various utility and water lines in the corridor.

The inclusion of the railroads is what grabbed Salt Lake City's interest. It would mean moving the rail lines that now isolate the city's west side farther west, perhaps even west of the airport.

Project coordinator Jon Nepstad from the Wasatch Front Regional Council said in addition to the partnering meetings, some scoping sessions and tours of the area, especially the protected wetlands, have been held.

"There's no concrete proposal for a corridor yet," Nepstad said. "Rather, at this point, we're asking people what they think, we're looking at the whole concept.

"We're also looking at corridor preservation concepts, from zoning and easements to outright purchases," Nepstad said.

"Right now, we're waiting on word on the proposed merger between the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. That could have a big effect, determining ownership of the rail lines," he said.

According to Nepstad, the window of opportunity is shrinking rapidly with each new house and subdivision that sprouts on what used to be pasture land.

"In the south, the issue is mostly wetlands. That's pretty well defined. In the north, it's not so much wetlands as development. Our tour up there was really an eye-opener. The growth up there is just tremendous," Nepstad said.

Dillree said a bill will be introduced in the upcoming Legislature to set up a state fund for corridor preservation.

"It's being shaped now by the GOP leadership," Dillree said. "The options could range from buying easements to preserving development rights, or even purchasing the right of first refusal on land.

"But the idea is, once a corridor is identified, it can be preserved and the affected property owners won't be left in limbo for 20 or so years. They'll know whether to develop, use or dispose of their property," Dillree said.

A transportation plan adopted just last year by the Wasatch Front Regional Council called for spending up to $10 million for land acquisition for the corridor, a figure Nepstad now calls conservative.

"I don't think that holds now," Nepstad said. "That's very, very conservative, probably not even in the realm now."