Minutes after depositing $1.01 billion in borrowed funds at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, the N.C. Turnpike Authority began spending the money to launch construction of the state's first modern toll road, the Triangle Expressway.
David W. Joyner, the agency's executive director, signed construction contracts pledging $584 million to companies that will start work right away on the six-lane, 18.8-mile TriEx in western Wake and southern Durham counties.
Surveyors will be on the ground Thursday, and earth movers will start rumbling by mid-August. A ground-breaking ceremoney is planned for Aug. 12 at the end of the 540 Outer Loop, at N.C. 55 south of Research Triangle Park.
Landowners will be receiving offers for 525 acres needed to finish the project, a combined value estimated at $230 million. The turnpike authority wants to take title to most of the land within the next six months.
Traffic is expected to start moving, and paying tolls electronically, on the Triangle Parkway portion through Research Triangle Park by January 2012. The Western Wake Freeway portion from RTP to Holly Springs is expected to open by January 2013.