TENDERS FOR design and build of the proposed 2km tunnel under the Stonehenge monument have just been received.
Five consortia have bid for the job including Amec/Alfred McAlpine, Balfour Beatty/Costain, Mowlem/Morgan Est, Sir Robert McAlpine/Bouygues, and Skanksa.
Each consortia has been asked to include cut and cover and bored tunnel options in their tenders. The tunnel section will be part of a project to widen a 10.8km section of the A303 near the monument.
The winning contractor will work with the scheme's consultant Mott MacDonald on value engineering design solutions ahead of a planning inquiry.
Over the past two months, tender clinics with Highways Agency have been held to develop tunnel solutions for the scheme.
Such clinics have been introduced recently as a way to clarify bid issue details.
This will be the first major road project to go ahead using the Highways Agency's accelerated planning procedure scheme which gets contractors get involved earlier in the planning process.
It will also involve the Agency taking on greater financial risk by paying fees to contractors for work on their proposals before the scheme gets planning consent.
The Agency confirmed that it hoped to appoint a contractor to work with Mott MacDonald some time 'in March'. It added that 'substantial progress' had been made on survey work, which was held up because of the foot and mouth restrictions.