Just two firms are left in the hunt for Surrey County Council’s £200 million highways maintenance contract after three of the shortlisted bidders were knocked out of the running.
It is understood that Balfour Beatty and May Gurney will vie for the six-year deal, which could be extended by up to four years.
In June, Enterprise, Colas and Skanska all received invitations to tender for the contract, which covers core maintenance across the county from May 2011.
Neither of the incumbents on the council’s existing maintenance contracts appeared on the shortlist.
Vinci subsidiary Ringway, currently working on the network in the west of the county, was not invited to tender despite submitting a pre-qualification questionnaire in May.
The other incumbent Carillion – responsible for maintenance in the eastern half of Surrey – decided not to tender for the contract.
Last year, the council decided not to extend its road maintenance contracts with Carillion and Ringway, which have been in place since April 2003, beyond next April.
Both contractors were granted an initial extension to 2011 despite coming under pressure when a surveillance initiative uncovered productivity problems. Ringway strongly denied any allegations of poor working methods.
One industry source said: “Whoever gets into Surrey, it’s a bit of a poisoned chalice.”
Work to be carried out under the council’s programme, worth up to £200m, include minor planned maintenance to carriageways and footways, reactive repairs to carriageways, winter maintenance, replacement and cleaning of signs, and surfacing works, as well as general civil engineering projects.