Transport Scotland’s management of the Forth Replacement Crossing project delivered value for money but a clearer plan is needed to measure its wider benefits, says Audit Scotland.
The official audit of the project found that construction of the £1.34bn Queensferry Crossing was managed effectively.
The bridge was built by Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC), a consortium of Hochtief, Dragados, American Bridge and Morrison Construction (Galliford Try). It opened to traffic on 7th September 2017.
Overall the project took around 10 years to complete. The Queensferry Crossing is the tallest bridge in the UK and the longest three-tower cable-stayed bridge in the world. It is intended to have a useful life of at least 120 years.
The audit report praises Transport Scotland’s budgeting, governance, quality assurance and risk management – as well as the competitive tendering which helped deliver the project under budget. The final cost of the project was £1.34bn was in the range of 8% to 16% less than the £1.45bn to £1.6bn estimated at the start of construction
A key factor behind the project’s success was that the delivery team had the right mix of skills and experience, the report says. They demonstrated strong, consistent leadership, and communicated well with contractors and stakeholders.
The client identified a need for the bridge, and demonstrated that the preferred design, a cable-stayed bridge, had advantages over other options.
It is too early for some of the project’s wider benefits to be proven, such as improving public transport across the Forth, cutting journey times and boosting economic growth. But Audit Scotland says more detail is needed on how success will be measured.
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.”
The full report can be found at www.audit-scotland.gov.uk