JOHNSON COUNTY - Johnson County is a step closer to the expansion of its jail after the county's board of commissioners gave final approval to the project.

Our partners at the Daily Journal report county officials will now begin the search for a contractor to do the work on the multi-million-dollar project. Fishers-based RQAW Corp. designed the addition.

The paper says Johnson county will likely select a contractor in November with construction getting underway next spring.

The expansion includes the addition of 74 new cells and 264 beds in the new two-story wing of the jail. Overcrowding has been a constant problem for the jail, according to the paper.

The Daily Journal reports the exact cost of the jail will not be known until a bid is accepted during a public meeting. But some estimates put the project as high as $25 million.  

The Johnson County Council passed an income tax earlier this year to pay for the expansion. It took effect last week.

The county expects the project to take up to 18 months to complete.