FIVE CONSORTIA have been short listed to design and build the proposed 2km Stonehenge tunnel.
Amec/Alfred McAlpine, Balfour Beatty/Costain, Mowlem/ Morgan Est, Sir Robert McAlpine/Bouygues, and Skanksa are working with the Highways Agency to develop tunnel solutions for the widening on an estimated 10.8km section of the A303 near the monument.
The Agency confirmed that the winning contractor would work with the scheme's consultant Mott MacDonald on value engineering design solutions ahead of a planning inquiry.
This will be the first major project to go ahead using the Highways Agency's accelerated planning procedure scheme which gets contractors involved earlier in the planning process.
The initiative is expected to cut the time it takes to build a road scheme by up to two years.
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.
Early contractor involvement is being trialled by the Agency on the A500 Pathfinder project in Stoke on Trent.
The Agency said this week that it hoped to have a contractor working with Mott MacDonald by the spring after making 'substantial progress' on survey work. This work was held up last spring because of foot and mouth restrictions.