This contract, worth between £40m and £50m, is the for the design of the western section of the A96 dualling programme, east of Auldearn to east of Fochabers.
Earlier this year Jacobs was awarded a £30m design contract for the Inverness to Nairn section (including the Nairn Bypass).
Scotland’s infrastructure secretary Keith Brown said: “This major contract marks a further milestone towards the dualling of the A96 with all the investment and improvements that will bring to the Highland’s and northeast of Scotland.
“The publication of this contract notice marks another significant milestone in a dualling programme that will deliver a number of benefits when completed, including improved journey time and reliability, improved connectivity and improved road safety for all those who use this key artery connecting two of Scotland’s economic hubs.”
He added: “When this contract is awarded early next year, design work for the western section will step up a gear with route option assessment work getting underway. This contract will also provide the successful bidders with steady work for years to come and many more opportunities for small and medium enterprises through subcontracted work, so it will be a boost for the local and national economy.”