The Forth Road Bridge is to be replaced by a cable-stayed bridge
Officials have made their first attempt to find a contractor for the replacement Forth crossing.
Eight of the world's most respected construction and specialist engineering companies have been invited to tender for the contract to build the bridge.
The group has split in two with Vinci, Balfour Beatty, Bam Nuttal and Morgan Est forming the Forthspan consortium.
The Forth Crossing Constructors group includes Dragados, Hochtief, American Bridge International and Morrisons.
Forthspan delivered the £655m Rion Antirion Bridge, a 2.8km cable stayed bridge linking the Peloponnese Islands to the mainland for the Greece 2004 Athens Olympics, and the £330m Second Severn Crossing completed in 1996, which carries the M4 over the River Severn between England and Wales.
Forth Crossing Constructors built the £768m Oresund Bridge, which forms part of the Oresund link connection between Denmark and Sweden, and are currently replacing the eastern span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge.
They are to submit a final tender by late 2010, with proposals and a price.
The award of the Forth replacement crossing contract is to be made in spring 2011 and construction is expected to begin later that year.
The crossing, one of Scotland's largest infrastructure projects, is being planned due to the deteriorating condition of the existing Forth Road Bridge.
The £2bn contract includes design, construction of the main crossing and approaching roads.
The contract will include a 2.7km motorway, a cable-stayed bridge with three mono-towers, trunk road connections, two flyover junctions and signs.
The new crossing is expected to be open to traffic in 2016.
Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said: "The Forth Crossing Bill has just been introduced to parliament and the issuing of the formal invitation to tender demonstrates that delivery of the Forth replacement crossing remains on schedule.
"The long-term future for the existing Forth Road Bridge remains uncertain and it is vital we act now to preserve cross-Forth travel and ensure sustainable economic growth for communities across Scotland continues in the future."