This is the optimistic scenario, DARS chairman Matjaž Knez said, noting that the works could yet be delayed in the event non-selected builders lodge complaints.
Unofficial information suggest bids for the first section range from 50 to 70 million euros, with some bidders apparently complaining that the lowest bids are too low.
But Knez is confident any challenges to the selection, which is yet to be revealed, would be deflected.
The section is just 13 kilometres long but forms the last missing bit of the national motorway network, connecting to the Croatian motorway at Gruškovje border crossing.
It is crucial in particular in summer months, as hundreds of thousands of northern Europeans hit the road when they travel for holiday to Croatia.
The project is valued at EUR 246m. It will be financed with DARS's own funds, EU funding and a loan that the government plans to obtain from the European Investment Bank.