FOUR teams are on the grid for the Highways Agency's £43 million A43 Silverstone Bypass project.
The client has invited an Edmund Nuttall/Norwest Holst joint venture, Balfour Beatty, Mowlem and Costain-Skanska to work up best offers for the three-stage deal.
The job, one of the biggest to come up for grabs in recent months, has been keenly contested with more than 20 firms expressing an interest before the list was cut down to six.
High-profile contractors failing to make the final list included Amec, Alfred McAlpine and Miller.
Tender documents were issued to the four firms last week and are due back by the end of August. A preferred bidder should be appointed by late October.
One bidder claimed: 'The Highways Agency is looking to share the jobs around equally as there are quite a few road projects coming out.'
Work is due to start on site by the end of the 2000/01 financial year and scheduled to take two years. The job comprises three smaller schemes bundled up into one design and build contract spanning three sections of the A43 in Northamptonshire.
The first section is the Silverstone Bypass itself comprising an 8 km stretch of dual carriageway.
The second package is the Whitfield Turn to Brackley Heath section, comprising a 4.5-km stretch of dual carriageway forming a strategic link between the M1 and M40.
The final section is a 6.6 km segment of dual carriageway between the M40 to B4031 plus improvement work to the junction of the A43/M40.
The contract also features building three road bridges, an accommodation bridge, two underpasses and replacement of two culverts plus associated landscaping.