NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) — Work should begin in three weeks on a new toll collection system for the Causeway bridge across Lake Pontchartrain.

A March lightning strike damaged the current system. The Causeway Commission is negotiating a $2.5 million contract for the replacement.

General Manager Carlton Dufrechou (doo fre SHOW) told WWL-TV (http://bit.ly/LIdd7c ) that the system should speed up traffic on the bridge by better reading toll tags. The Causeway is used by 40,000 cars daily.

Dufrechou said that after a fifth lane is added, equipment will be replaced in one existing lane at a time, keeping four lanes open at all time. Most work is expected to be done outside of rush hours. The project is expected to be completed by March.

The Causeway hopes to work toward unmanned toll booths, Dufrechou said.