Completion of the Town Creek Parkway extension is one step closer. On Monday, Lenoir City Council approved a $2.5 million bid to construct the remaining 4,000 feet of roadway.

With an estimated $4 million in total costs, the project will tie U.S. Highway 321 to Harrison Road and open up new land for retail, office and residential development.

Jason Elliott, of Cannon and Cannon, Inc., consultants on the project, said the $2.5 million contract with APAC-Atlantic, Inc., was lower than engineers expected.

"We had about $3 million for construction. ... We have some cushion now built into the project budget, which is a great thing. The next step is the preconstruction meeting," Elliott said, adding construction should begin in the middle of next month and should be completed by June 2014.

In addition to the construction of the roadway, utilities will have to be relocated. Some of that cost has already been figured into the APAC-Atlantic contract.

"With that contract that you have in front of you we included the necessary relocation of water, sewer and gas with LCUB," Elliott told council members. "However, LCUB does their power relocation in-house, so we did not have that information to include in the contract. I think they have four or five poles that they are going to need to move, but we don't have an estimate on how much that is going to cost.

"It wasn't extensive work," Elliott said after the meeting. "It's just a little bit of relocation, and the part that we're still waiting on is the overhead electric relocation."

In addition to moving utilities, City Administrator Dale Hurst said two fuel pipelines will have to be relocated for a price tag of about $800,000.

"I think we will be under budget," Hurst said about the total project costs.

Councilman Eddie Simpson said he is excited about the Town Creek project.

"It's been said that is probably going to be the new Turkey Creek, and I hope they're exactly right," he said. "It will help us tremendously."

Town Creek Parkway will be completed before the Harrison Road and Old Highway 95 intersection widening to improve traffic flow at Lenoir City High School.

Council also approved a residential solid waste collection contract with Tennessee Trash Service, contingent on the city attorney's approval. The five-year contract, expected to start June 1, comes in at $7.75 a month with one standardized cart. Mayor Tony Aikens said the contract will not increase ratepayers' costs.

"There are no layoffs involved in this whatsoever ... and there is no increase compared to what people are paying now," Aikens said. "Matter of fact, this is going to help keep from having to increase. We were on that edge of having to raise rates, and this is going to save us from having to do that."

"They will still run the service of picking up bigger items and things people lay out," Councilman Mike Henline added.