The US State of North Carolina has awarded contracts to build the country’s first expressway to operate an all-electronic toll collection system on the Triangle Expressway in Wake and Durham counties.

The first $446.5m contract has been given to ST Wooten Corp to build the 3.4 miles Triangle Parkway segment of the expressway, extending from NC 147 to the interchange with the Outer Wake Expressway.

Raleigh-Durham Roadbuilders won the second $137.5m contract to construct 12.6 miles Western Wake Freeway segment, extending from a northern junction with NC 55 near Research Triangle Park to a southern junction with NC 55 Bypass near Holly Springs.

The total length of the six-lane expressway is 18.8 miles including the existing third section, Northern Wake Expressway (NC 540), between NC 55 and NC 54.

Construction work will begin in mid-August with preparatory work expected to start shortly.

The expressway is scheduled to open in 2011.

The project is being funded by The North Carolina Turnpike Authority’s share of $1.01bn in bond proceeds and federal loans.