Sunderland City Council said four construction firms have been shortlisted to construct the £133M New Wear crossing today.
Five firms were revealed to be bidding for the job in May. They were Balfour Beatty, Vinci, Ferrovial, Skanska and Graham Construction. It is understood that Skanska is no longer bidding on the project.
Tender documents will be issued later this month with the council hoping to pick a winning construction firm in the next six months. Construction of the new bridge could start in spring 2013 and last for three years to complete.
The new crossing between Castleton and Pallion was criticised by engineers in May for being too costly and complicated to build.
But Sunderland City Council said the bridge will deliver £4 of investment on every £1 spent.