Kent County Council has announced a shortlist of six construction companies for its 10-year highways maintenance deal, worth £750m.
But the six names do not feature incumbent contractor Ringway, although the firm did tender for the contract.
The companies which made the cut are: Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Colas, Enterprise, and May Gurney.
Kent has one of the longest highways networks of any county, including many key port roads, and stretching for more than 5,000 miles of road.
Director of Kent Highway Services, John Burr, said: "Existing partner Ringway has not been short-listed for the next stages of procurement. Discussions will be held with them to ensure that we continue to work together to provide the best highway service to the residents of Kent.
"We have achieved much together over the last few years and Kent will continue to work closely with Ringway staff to ensure a smooth transition to the new contract."
Councillor Nick Chard, Kent County Council cabinet member for highways, said: "We are looking forward to an open dialogue with the shortlisted companies. We are keen to hear how they could help us to make Kent's roads the best in the country, despite these difficult times with the financial challenges that we are all facing."