Traffic control site en route to new Forth development

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TRAFFIC across Scotland will be monitored from a new centre to be built in the shadow of the Forth Road Bridge.

&#149 The control centre is currently located in a temporary base in Glasgow

Transport Scotland officials are preparing to submit a planning application for the building, which will replace the existing centre located in temporary facilities in Glasgow.

The proposals will see the new centre designed alongside the visitor centre being proposed as part of the new Forth crossing development. Up to 50 people will be employed at the new centre by 2017.

A plot of vacant land next to the Forth Road Bridge administration office at South Queensferry has been identified for the development, which is expected to cost around 3.8 million.

The new permanent home for Traffic Scotland's National Control Centre will monitor the operation of Scotland's road network and act as a coordinating hub during emergencies, disruption and severe weather.

The development of a new site will allow the centre to bring in a planned "Intelligent Transport System", expected to go live between 2012 and 2017 and tasked with providing live updates on traffic on Scotland's busiest routes, including the new Forth crossing.

The visitor centre, meanwhile, will act as a central point for public information and consultation during construction of the new Forth crossing, and will also provide space for a visitor exhibition on the project.

Officials from Transport Scotland and the Forth Estuary Transport Authority have been working closely together on the proposals.

Phil Wheeler, convener of FETA, said: "It has been a long-held ambition of the bridge authority to see a high- quality visitor facility for the Forth bridges.

"The new bridge will be of huge interest during construction and, once complete, we will have a unique visitor attraction in three major bridges from three consecutive centuries.

"The contact and education centre will play a central role in engaging and educating the public, as well as bringing jobs to the local area."