A CONSORTIUM of Chinese, British and Japanese contractors has received a letter of intent for a $1.41 billion contract for road and drainage construction at the Chek Lap Kok airport. The group is led by Nishimatsu of Japan, with Costain Building and Civil Engineering and China Harbour Engineering. The deal, tipped by the South China Morning Post a week ago, was confirmed at yesterday's meeting of the Provisional Airport Authority (PAA) board. PAA officials said a formal contract would be signed once the Airport Authority Bill was approved and the Financial Support Agreement (FSA) signed. 'There is not enough money in the budget to go ahead with the contract otherwise,' a PAA insider said. 'That's why we have issued a letter of intent.' Work entails the construction of 22 kilometres of roads including a two kilometre expressway on the airport's eastern edge to provide the main road access. The subsidiary roads would be built on the north and south airport perimeter and to provide for traffic movement in the catering, maintenance and cargo areas. Four bridges, 32 kilometres of high-security fencing and associated drainage works were included in the two-year contract. The group submitted the lowest of eight tenders. This latest contract, one of the largest still to be awarded, was part of a $10 billion package to be funded from international commercial loans guaranteed by China under the FSA. Outstanding deals included contract 420 for the construction of the ground transportation centre and three orders for fitting out work in the main passenger terminal.