MEMBERS of the public will soon be able to experience the high life by walking up the Forth Bridge and enjoying the breathtaking views from the top.

Network Rail's plans for the "exciting tourist attraction” – which will see groups of 12 to 15 people putting on safety harnesses and being led to a platform 110 metres (367 feet) above the river – have been approved by the City of Edinburgh Council.

Alan Ross, the company's director of engineering and asset management, said: “It’s great to see our plans for the Forth Bridge Experience moving forward.

“The team has worked hard to create this exciting design and we’re looking forward to working with the successful contractor to bring these plans to life.”

The Forth Bridge Experience includes a new single-storey reception hub and car park on the south side and is expected to attract 85,000 visitors a year.

The cost was estimated previously to be £10 million but Network Rail revised the proposals earlier this year to make it "more affordable and more sympathetic to the surrounding environment".

The hub on the South Queensferry side of the river will be used for preparing those heading out on the bridge walk, who will climb to the top via the south cantilever and new walkways built into the structure, as well as providing an access point and "stunning views" of the rail bridge.

Network Rail has now begun the process of appointing a main contractor to build the hub and car park, with firms invited to tender for the project.

Opened in 1890, the Forth Bridge was inscribed as a world heritage site by Unesco in July 2015.

The top of the iconic structure is 367 feet, or 110 metres, above sea level.

Initial proposals for a £10m visitor centre and bridge walk experience were approved early in 2020 with the aim of opening the following year.

However, the plans were put “on hold” in March 2021.

Network Rail said the pandemic had prompted a rethink, citing the “uncertain and challenging times we face across the globe”.

The company said they remained committed to the project and plans were back on track in the summer of 2021.

A public engagement exercise was then held to gather feedback from residents and inform the final designs.