The city of McAllen on Thursday opened three submitted bids for what city officials estimated would be a roughly $19 million extension to Bicentennial Boulevard, stretching the four-lane thoroughfare from Trenton Road to State Highway 107.

City commissioners will eventually vote on the contractor, and City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said he anticipates construction on the project beginning before the end of the year. Funding for the project will be split between the city and the Texas Department of Transportation.

“It’s the kind of project contractors love,” Rodriguez said. There is no traffic to deal with, he said, just open land.

On Thursday, though, a surprisingly low bid was opened: $12.6 million.

“That’s actually ridiculously low,” Rodriguez said, to his pleasant surprise, several million dollars cheaper than the estimate.

The city money for the project will come from a 2013 bond election that voters approved for street improvements. The extension of Bicentennial Boulevard was originally slated to be one-lane in each direction from Trenton Road to State Highway 107. Instead, years after the election, the city found alternative funding options to make it a continuous two-lane-in-each-direction road, which will now begin at the McAllen-Miller International Airport and extend to the northern edge of the city.

A southern stretch of Bicentennial Boulevard, however, has been out of operation, as the overpass will become an underpass. TxDOT is expected to complete its 3 miles of construction on U.S. Highway 83 by this time next year.

The construction for the new northern extension of Bicentennial Boulevard, though, will weave between neighborhoods, which have been notified in recent years of the possible project, and some neighbors attended public meetings in recent years where city officials answered questions about the project.