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 a new report.
Auditor General Caroline Gardner found that the £1.34bn infrastructure scheme – which cost at least £110m less than expected - was managed effectively.
Her 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.
A key factor behind the project's success was that the delivery team had the right mix of skills and experience. They demonstrated strong, consistent leadership, and communicated well with contractors and stakeholder groups.
The government identified a clear need for the bridge, and demonstrated that the preferred option - a cable-stayed bridge - had several advantages over other options and designs.
It is too early for some of the project's wider benefits - such as improving public transport across the Forth, cutting journey times, and boosting economic growth - to be demonstrated. But more detail is needed on how success will be measured.
Ms 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.