A joint venture of Mott MacDonald and Sweco has won the £50M route assessment and detailed design contract for the A96 dualling.
A 46.4km stretch of the road between Auldearn and Fochabers will be dualled and the joint venture is expected to start work next month.
Other firms bidding for the work were Aecom, an Amey-Arup joint venture and CH2M/Fairhurst joint bid.
Minister for transport and islands Humza Yousaf said: “We remain steadfast in our commitment to upgrade Scotland’s trunk road network which includes dualling the entire length of the A96, some 138km of upgraded road between Inverness and Aberdeen, by 2030.
“This major design contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that it will bring to local economies right across the north of Scotland.”
He added there will be many opportunities for local SMEs via subcontracted work.
The final details for the options regarding the A96 dualling between Inverness to Nairn are likely to be finalised later this year.