THE supports are in place, and work on the roadway that will soon span the waters of the River Forth is well under way. The Queensferry Crossing, destined to become a Scottish landmark, is progressing well.
Somewhat to the surprise of those scarred by the bitter experience of watching public works projects being delivered late and over budget – the Edinburgh trams project and the Scottis Parliament building spring all too readily to mind – the crossing is likely to be completed under budget and ahead of schedule.
Scottish ministers say that the expected savings in the country’s capital budgets will allow work to begin six months early on another key infrastructure project – the dualling of the A9.
There are 80 miles of the Perth-Inverness road still waiting to be dualled and the annual death toll on this route is a standing indictment of administrations of every hue for decades. All progress on this crucial project is welcome.
Opposition politicians are wary of the funding mechanism behind this announcement; the money being talked about by ministers takes the form of expected savings from next year’s contingency funds on the construction of the bridge. MSPs question the wisdom of dipping into these in advance.
But the Scottish Government is confident enough in the management of the project to say that on current performance the cash will be available as predicted.
This political disagreement aside, there can be little doubt that the Queensferry Crossing has been remarkably free of financial, practical or contractual difficulties.
It has been a public works project worth celebrating.