The five shortlisted companies bidding for the core highways maintenance contract are Balfour Beatty, Colas, Enterprise, May Gurney and Skanska.
The current deal, held jointly by Ringway and Carillion, ends in April 2011. The council decided to end its arrangement last year after problems with the productivity of road gangs.
The council said it would now be working closely with the firms as they put together detailed bids for the contract.
The five will need to prove their ability to maintain Surrey’s roads and pathways, and structures such as bridges, to a high standard, as well as carrying out winter maintenance including road salting.
The new contract will run for six years with the option to extend it for a further four years.
A final decision will be made in December this year and the contract will begin in April 2011.