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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 13:57 GMT
Electronic tolls on road bridge
Forth Road Bridge - Feta
The current tolls system will be replaced
An electronic toll payment system is to be fitted on the Forth Road Bridge to help reduce queues.

The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) has given the go-ahead for a company to begin replacing the current manual system on the busy road link.

The authority said the new system, which will be available in early 2006, would be able to handle variable tolls for on and off-peak drivers.

Cars can be fitted with toll tags, with drivers able to pay by credit card.

Feta said the system would be able to handle varying tolls at different parts of the day, including lower tolls for off-peak car drivers using the bridge, which links the Lothians and Fife.

The main contract for the tolling system has been awarded to Transroute UK and the total cost of the project has been put at about 4.8m.

Electronic barriers

Other companies have been awarded contracts for ancillary work, including the replacement of tollbooths and the creation of a new toll plaza.

Feta said the system would be similar to others in operation in the UK and Europe.

This will make it possible for tags to lift the electronic barriers on the Forth Road Bridge, the M6 Toll Road and the Dartford Bridge.

However, the authority said the new system will not mean the end for bridge collection staff.

Bridge tolling system - Feta
The aim will be to speed up payments at the bridge
General manager Alastair Andrew said: "When the new system comes into operation, scheduled for February 2006, manual collection will be available in all lanes at peak times.

"There will always be the option of handing over your toll charge to a toll collector, as we have to think of the needs of tourists or people who cross the bridge infrequently.

"The automatic electronic tolling system comes into its own for frequent bridge-users such as commuters and the freight haulage industry."

Work on the new system will start in February 2005 and Feta said construction work would take place overnight and at weekends to minimise disruption to drivers.

Earlier this week, Feta announced completion of resurfacing work on the bridge which took place over the summer and led to weekend disruption.

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