Scotland has invited bids from the two consortiums chosen to carry out a £2bn project to replace the existing Forth Road Bridge with a new cable-stayed bridge.

The selected consortiums are the Forthspan, including Vinci, Balfour Beatty, Bam Nuttal and Morgan Est and the Forth Crossing Constructors group, including Dragados, Hochtief, American Bridge International and Morrisons.

The two groups will submit their bids by late 2010, allowing the contract to be awarded in spring 2011 and construction to begin in late 2010 and finish by 2016.

The project involves the design and construction of a 2.7km two-lane carriageway, including a cable-stayed bridge with three mono-towers, two central spans of nearly 650m each, approach viaducts and trunk road connections north and south of the bridge.

Work includes building 5.5km of new or improved two or three-lane motorway standard carriageways with hard shoulders and two flyover junctions as well as installing an intelligent transport system with gantry displays to inform drivers of new variable speed limits.