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Post-poll delay hits big deals

CONTRACTS HIGHWAYS

CIVIL ENGINEERING firms are complaining of a post-election delay in awarding major jobs.

Balfour Beatty, Costain, Laing O'Rourke, Nuttall, Mowlem and Skanska are still waiting for the Highways Agency to award the £56 million deal to refurbish the Holmesdale Tunnel and improve the M25 at junction 25.The agency was due to pick a preferred bidder last month.

One source said: 'If we're lucky the councils and the Highways Agency may choose winners within eight weeks of the election result.

'It's a tough wait but little surprise seeing as they've been delaying decisions for the past 18 months on some big schemes. If we kick up a fuss we may find we're not getting on tender lists so we keep quiet.'

And one bidder chasing the £38 million A1 Morpeth to Felton bypass scheme is concerned the deal may never be awarded.

The insider said: 'It's a possibility that the funding on this one may slip.'