The cost of building the new Forth crossing has fallen, MSPs have been told.

David Climbie of Transport Scotland said the bill is now expected to be between £1.325 billion and £1.35 billion, and he added that workers are "absolutely focused" on completing the new structure in time for it to open by the end of this year.

The project director for the Queensferry Crossing updated MSPs on Holyrood's Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee on progress.

In 2009, the new crossing had been expected to cost up to £2.34 billion, he said, which was about £1 billion more than the figures.

Mr Climbie told the committee that when the new crossing was first considered in early 2007, "a 10-year time-scale was considered extremely challenging for a project of this size and complexity".

But he said: "We are still focused absolutely on achieving the original target date for opening to traffic and to a significantly reduced budget."

He added: "The site team has risen to the challenges of the past few months, and through their efforts and through the FCBC's (Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors) efficient management of equipment and resources, the principle contract for the Queensferry Crossing and approach roads continues on target for opening to traffic by the end of 2016.

"We are absolutely focused on the target date of having traffic on the bridge by the end of this year, no matter what happens, whether it be weather, whether it be unexpected events like the Forth Road Bridge closure, any other unexpected events."

The closure of the existing Forth Road Bridge to all traffic in December allowed staff building the new crossing to carry out work on surrounding roads during the daytime, rather than having to do this at night, he said.

Mr Climbie praised staff involved in delivering the new bridge, saying: "We've worked well over 10 million man hours on the project, we have a tremendous workforce on site, they have worked through some difficult conditions over the last six months or so and I think their dedication to the project and their pride in the project is very clear."