Simpson Road the next city project
Stephanie Myers
In a move signaling that more road improvements are in the works, Lenoir City Council on Monday approved Vaughn & Melton as the engineering firm for the Simpson Road widening project, which will stretch from U.S. Highway 321 at Burger King to Shaw Ferry Road.

The three-year project has been highly anticipated, Lenoir City Administrator Jim Wilburn and Amber Scott, assistant city administrator, said, adding that the project could begin by late summer next year.

Scott said the roadway will be widened from 18 to 26 feet and will include a sidewalk throughout the stretch.

“And they’re looking at a 5-foot sidewalk. That’s standard,” Scott said.

Construction costs have not yet been totaled, but the city will pay 10 percent of the costs after grant funds, Scott said, with 80 percent federal money and 20 percent local. The city and  county will each pick up 10 percent of the cost.

Wilburn said the next step is for the project to go to the drawing board.

“We will have to sit down with them and start planning the project,” Wilburn said about the engineering firm.

“We are excited about the project,” Scott said. “It’s very needed. It will make it a lot safer out there with all the traffic from Home Depot and Walmart and all the other shops, restaurants and the church. It’s very needed. Everyone uses that cut-through.”

“It’s very narrow,” Wilburn added.