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By Brian Warner.Amey is being tipped to win the Department of Transport's £41 million Batheaston/Swainswick bypass in Avon.After weeks without even a hint of information, contractors have still heard nothing official from the DoT itself, but the word is that the client is now looking seriously at only one bid, and that is Amey's.It is understood that evaluating the bids has been both difficult and time-consuming because, on major schemes, the DoT is attaching more importance to the long-term maintenance implications of alternative designs.For instance, a crucial element of the Batheaston/Swainswick project is a viaduct over the River Avon which will carry slip roads as well as the bypass.A steel bridge would be a cheaper alternative initially, but a concrete in-situ structure would be cheaper to maintain.Although the DoT has officially nominated one scheme - the Brockworth Bypass - as a whole-life costing exercise, where maintenance needs were evaluated over a 40-year period, similar criteria are becoming increasingly relevant to many other projects.But the DoT is unlikely to ask for any extension of the tender validity period on Batheaston/Swainswick and an award now looks likely to be made by the middle of March.If Amey does land the job, it would be one of the biggest UK road contracts the firm has won on its own rather than in joint venture.Work is expected to start on site this spring for completion within 30 months.As well as the viaduct the job includes 6.4 km of dual two-lane highway, a 70 m cut-and-cover underpass, 2 km of retaining walls, at-grade junctions and roundabouts, and a grade-separated roundabout.Sir Alexander Gibb is consulting engineer. CONSTRUCTION NEWS