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12May94 UK: JOINT VENTURES DUEL OVER BEDFORD BYPASS.

The race for the £30 million Bedford southern bypass has narrowed to two serious contenders - joint ventures between Wimpey/Amey and Kier/Hochtief, with the wise money going on the former at present.Consulting engineer Brian Colquhoun has so far sent out 'no thank you' letters to Christiani/May Gurney and Laing. This theoretically leaves two of the others - Miller and Trafalgar House - still in with a shout.But industry insiders are convinced the battle will be fought between the Wimpey and Kier groups which, it is understood, have sent in the lowest bids.Contractors worked up two bids for the project, one of which involved a whole-life costing exercise based on concrete and blacktop surfaces; the other was a traditional estimate.The bypass was originally valued at £50 million, but was revised down to £30 million after the Department of Transport dropped a northern link road scheme. This may now be let as a separate package.A summer start is expected. CONSTRUCTION NEWS