Northern Virginia drivers, take note. Starting early next year, cameras will be mounted at 10 yet-to-be-named Fairfax County intersections to photograph red-light runners, who will be mailed $50 tickets.

County supervisors gave final approval to the pilot program yesterday by awarding a three-year contract to Lockheed Martin IMS to install and maintain the cameras. Police employees will process the photographs and send tickets.

Supervisors said the public's safety is the key concern.

"I am troubled by the big brotherish aspect of this," said Supervisor Gerald E. Connolly (D-Providence). "But if we can get people to err on the side of not going through a red light, we may help save lives."

Officials have not disclosed where the cameras initially will be mounted. The cameras may be rotated among intersections, officials said.

The county estimates that the cameras will catch 333,000 red-light runners during the next three years. If that proves true, the program would bring in about $13 million in fines, more than enough to cover the $6.7 million cost of running the program, officials said.

In addition to installation and maintenance costs, officials said the program requires the county to hire three employees in the department of transportation and six employees in the police department.

Supervisors approved a lease-purchase plan for the cameras that will allow the county to eventually own the equipment but will not require a large outlay of money right away.

County officials had recommended that approach to give the county more flexibility to upgrade the camera equipment.