TWO EARLY Contractor involvement highway deals are set to drop this week as the glut of road awards continues.
Rival firms tendering the £23.3 million A66 Temple Sowerby bypass, near Carlisle, are resigned to seeing the deal head in Skanska's favour.
Balfour Beatty, Birse, Costain and local outfit Cumbrian are thought to have been left out by the Highways Agency.
Project sources said the agency had visited Skanska's office to carry out its check. One said: 'It is widely believed that the agency has been over to Skanska to check their bid; that inevitably means it's all over.'
The 5 km dual carriageway crosses the River Eden near Penrith in Cumbria and has a high environmental profile as it is an area of Special Scientific Interest.
Further south, Nuttall has taken the latest city council road project to be let under an Early Contractor Involvement basis.
The team has trumped Morrison, Interserve, Birse, Alfred McAlpine and Balfour Beatty for Leicester City Council's £20 million Upperton Road viaduct replacement, which is being financed by the Department of Transport.
The project, which will run from the M1 to the city centre, includes demolishing the current viaduct and building a ground level road to include a new bridge.A pedestrian and cycle crossing facility is also planned.
This ECI differs from the usual method with consultant Jacobs Babtie installed by the council, rather than by the contractor.
To minimise traffic problems in Leicester the council wants Nuttall to build a temporary diversion, which will mean demolishing workshops on the city's Western Road and a temporary bridge over Old River Soar.
Construction work will start in spring 2006 with work due to finish in autumn 2007.
n A Balfour Beatty/Skanska joint venture is favourite to win the agency's £270 million plan to widen the M1 motorway in Hertfordshire.