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Costain prepares for another battle with bypass protesters

COSTAIN is set to return to the A34 where it fought with eco-protesters while building the Newbury bypass.

The firm has been tipped to take the £57 million contract to build a 3.5 km dual carriageway at Chieveley to bypass junction 13 on the M4. Slip roads will also be built to join the motorway to the bypass.

The firm is understood to have seen off challenges from Skanska, Amec and Nuttall. Fifth bidder Mowlem dropped out of the running early in the bidding process.

Work is due to start on the improvements in late spring and will be completed by the end of 2004.

Between 1996 and 1998 the firm struggled to build the £73.7 million bypass on a site occupied by protesters.

By the time the project was complete the firm had spent £23.7 million on security for the site.