CONSULTANT BROWN & Root is tipped to win the site supervision contract for the 4.5km Dublin Port road tunnel.
The firm is understood to be client Dublin Corporation's preferred bidder for the prestigious contract on the £275M design and construct job won by the Nishimatsu/Mowlem/Irishenco joint venture.
The contract is being let to provide specialised supervisory expertise for the client and a team of around 40 is expected to be involved. The construction contract has strict safety and environmental requirements to allay local residents' concerns.
Negotiations over the supervision contract are continuing between Dublin Corporation and Brown & Root's project team.
Senior project sources said these were expected to conclude within a fortnight but depend on agreement over price. Swift conclusion is required because construction of what is Ireland's largest civil engineering project is due to start next month.
Award of the contract will come as a disappointment to Arup, which, with Austrian consultant Geoconsult, had worked on the scheme since 1994 when plans incorporated the use of the New Austria Tunnelling Method.
The 1994 Heathrow Express tunnel collapse led to major changes in design, prompting the winning contractor to jettison use of NATM and adopt a bored tunnel solution instead.