MURPHY is the early favourite to win the first phase of the £714 million Edinburgh tram project.
The civil engineer is set to submit tender documents for the utility diversion contract in the next two months.
Morgan Est is also believed to be in the running after recently securing the contract to build the Kincardine Bridge across the Forth Estuary in Scotland. One industry source said: 'Murphy has already been tipped as the favourite.' The £20 million contract includes moving all the underground cables and pipes and completing infrastructure work in preparation for the track. Murphy recently won a similar scheme for the Olympic Park site in Stratford.
The tram project was approved by the Scottish Parliament last month and has now moved to the final stage, drawing up the outline business plan.
This is due to be approved by the city council in the autumn.
A spokeswoman for Transport Initiatives Scotland said: 'Once we have the business plan done we can proceed with the tender process, which has been running quite slowly.' Tender documents for the works were released last September, but it has taken until now to get funding resolved.
Four companies ? Alstom, Bombardier, CAF and Siemens ? are tendering for the design, manufacture and supply of trams in a contract due to be awarded early next year.
Other UK tram schemes are also set to start moving after Birmingham City Council agreed the business case for the city centre extension from Snow Hill station to the Five Ways commercial area.
The £116 million extension to the Midland Metro faced opposition from members of the council, but now it appears council leaders are set to back the planned extension in a meeting organised for June 1.