Queensferry Crossing project 'well managed' and 'value for money'

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The Queensferry Crossing project was managed effectively and delivered value for money, a spending watchdog has said.

The £1.34bn bridge across the Firth of Forth was opened a year ago, coming in under budget but completed eight months later than first estimated.

Audit Scotland praised Transport Scotland's budgeting, governance and tendering for the project.

But it said it was too early to assess the bridge's wider benefits.

The report said anticipated improvements in areas such as public transport across the Forth, reduced journey times and boosting the economy were still to be demonstrated.

It found the Scottish government agency had managed the project well, with "a clear project scope and the budget included all relevant costs".

The report stated: "The team provided regular, consistent and up-to-date information to the project board about costs, risks, quality and timescales.

"This provided a strong foundation for the project to succeed."

While Transport Scotland does have a plan for measuring the benefits of the crossing, the report said more detail was required.

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Auditor General Caroline Gardner 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 achieved 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 project's wider benefits, including its contribution to economic growth and improved public transport links."

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson welcomed the report's findings and said a full post-project evaluation was planned for later in the year.

"This will include an assessment of the impact of improved network connections and junctions, and the project's contribution to economic growth and exploring what further support can be offered to public transport providers to meet any future increase in demand for travel across the Forth," he said.