Construction projects can demolish reputations

By September 7, 2011Uncategorized

It’s not difficult to spend money in Edinburgh, and city’s trams debacle and the construction of the Scottish Parliament building show that it’s not difficult to waste it either.

Both projects will forever raise a huge question mark over Scotland’s ability to deliver major infrastructure developments to budget. 

And they are bound to crop up in any discussion about the future Forth crossing. The new bridge will cost £2 billion if things to according to plan; it will cost a massive blow to Scotland’s reputation if it does not.

It’s no wonder, then, that even before the bridge is built there’s concern at uncertainty over its future governance. 

An announcement on how the new crossing will be managed is imminent, and in view of the trams farce Transport Minister Keith Brown can ill afford to get it wrong.

Given the controversy that’s surrounded the crossing, whatever he decides is sure to be contested, and when work finally starts on the new crossing we can expect every penny spent to be the subject of rigorous scrutiny.

For if the bridge isn’t delivered to budget – and it would be churlish to forget that the new, £120 million Clackmannanshire Bridge was – public confidence in our ability to deliver such projects efficiently will be shattered for years to come.

The Waverley Line and the A9 dualling already seem like impossible dreams. Another infrastructure fiasco would make even the erection of a new bus shelter a PR challenge.