FOUR major firms have joined forces to bid for a £275 million extension to the M74 motorway in Glasgow.
Balfour Beatty, Morgan Est, Morrison Construction and Sir Robert McAlpine have teamed up to form the Interlink M74 JV, the sole bidder for the deal.
Rising inf lation and the cost of relocating businesses on the route could put the final price tag in the region of £500 million.
A source at one of the firms said: 'It's such a big, difficult job that it's best to go for it together. No foreign companies wanted it because of the challenges involved and there's plenty of easier projects. It goes through an urban area and it will be built on contaminated land, but there's plenty for everyone to do so it'll be a good job.'
Client Transport for Scotland is sending out the tender documents next week and has set a return date at the end of January.
The five-mile stretch of road will link junction 1 of the M74 with the M8 motorway west of the Kingston Bridge and is designed to improve access to Inverclyde and Ayrshire as well as regenerating areas of Glasgow along its route.
Sections of the road will run through industrial areas that have left the ground contaminated with chromium and other industrial waste.
The scheme has attracted criticism from protest groups and local MSPs, who claim it is too costly and environmentally damaging.
Work will begin next autumn and will finish by the end of 2010.