Talks could soon be under way to scrap the controversial Skye bridge tolls once-and for-all.
The tolls could be scrapped by Christmas
Private consultants are expected to be appointed shortly by the Scottish Executive to negotiate the removal of the charges.
It is hoped they can agree a deal which would allow the contract for the tolls to be bought out.
The Skye Bridge has been the subject of controversy since it opened in October 1995.
More than £27m has been collected from drivers and protesters argue the bridge has paid for itself many times over.
In a letter to the Highland MSP John Farquhar Munro, the Transport Minister Nicol Stephen has confirmed that independent consultants are to meet management from the Skye Bridge Company.
Mr Farquhar Munro said he is hopeful a solution will be found by Christmas.
Tolls for crossing the bridge are currently set at £5.70 one-way for a car in the summer and £4.70 in the winter.