SIX FIRMS are in the running for an£80 million road maintenance deal for Devon County Council.
Accord, Amey, Alfred McAlpine, Jarvis, Edmund Nuttall and South West Highways, the holders of the existing contract, have been invited to tender.
The new deal is worth £16 million a year over five years to the winner.
The tender return date is November 17, and the council is expected to appoint a preferred bidder early next year. The term of the contract is scheduled to start on April 1, 2000.
A Jarvis source said: 'We came second to South West Highways last time so we'll be looking to go one better this time.'
Work comprises the routine maintenance of roads and upgrading works in the county of Devon.
It will also include the upkeep of bridges and other structures.
The deal is very similar to the Highways Agency's super agency term maintenance contracts.
However, where super agency deals cover motorway and trunk road maintenance, the Devon contract only covers the upgrade of country roads.
A £3 million contract to take over Devon County Council's vehicle maintenance workshop for the next five years has also come up for grabs.
The deal comprises the upkeep of the council's social service vehicles and was previously let as one contract with the road maintenance job.
Jarvis, South West Highways, Amey,Accord, Atmos, which is Somerset County Council's former direct labour organisation, and vehicle maintenance specialists Next Transfleet are contesting the deal.