A report from Audit Scotland has found that the £1.3 billion Queensferry Crossing has been managed effectively and delivered value for money, but more plans need to be made to measure long term benefits.
The independent body, responsibly for auditing the majority of Scotland’s public organisations, praised the budgeting of the scheme – which, at £1.34 billion, came in at £110 million under budget; this was helped by a competitive tendering process.
Elsewhere, Audit Scotland welcomed the governance, risk management and quality assurance work undertaken by Transport Scotland on the Queensferry Crossing – a bridge that will improve traffic flow and reduce delays, thanks to its wind barriers and hard shoulders.
These mitigate accidents, breakdowns and poor weather conditions – issues that have previously forced closures on the Forth Road Bridge, causing delays to commuters, businesses, ultimately affecting the wider economy.
Audit Scotland say a clear need for the bridge was identified and that the cable-stayed nature of the design would bring the aforementioned benefits.
The Auditor, General Caroline Gardner believes that the successful completion of the scheme, and the fact it is anywhere between 8-16% less than previous estimates about the cost of construction, was due to the fact the delivery scheme had the right mix of experience and skills, demonstrating strong leadership, and good communication with contractors and other stakeholders.
Ms Gardner did, however, say that more detail is needed to measure how successful the bridge will be to the wider economy.
She said: “There is much the public sector can learn from the way Transport Scotland managed the project and it’s important that the good practice is shared more widely.
“The management of the project delivered value for money and achieve its overall aim of maintaining a reliable road link between Fife and the Lothians.
“Transport Scotland now needs to produce a clearer plan about how it will measure the success of the projects wider benefits, including its contribution to economic growth and improved public transport links.”