Event archive

Event Organiser: ICE

Foundations of the Clifton Suspension Bridge lecture, Cardiff

  • Lecture
  • Cardiff
  • 17 May 2018
  • 17:30 - 19:00
Foundations of the Clifton Suspension Bridge lecture, Cardiff

About this event

Since 2007, Geo-Design Consulting Engineers Ltd, a firm specialising in the field of rock engineering, has supported Flint and Neill (now COWI) in their role as Engineer to the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust. This lecture will summarise some of the work undertaken during the last ten years and is given by Robert MacKean an engineering geologist and director of Geo-Design.

Despite the apparent stability of the bridge foundations and of the high rock slopes that support them there is a long history of rock fall and deeper seated instability in the Clifton Gorge slopes.

The strength and stability reserve of the abutments and of the chain anchorages has thus been a particular area of concern. A study commenced in 2007 with a ground investigation campaign and development of a geological model for each tower foundation area, followed by an extensive assessment. A better understanding of the ground and its interaction with the Bridge foundations has developed.

It will be explained how the investigation has evolved to understand the risks initially perceived, as far as is possible in the context of geological uncertainty and current methods of analysis.


Robert MacKean

Robert specialised early in his career in the application of engineering geology to rock engineering. After a spell of a few years in Hong Kong during the 1990’s, he returned to the UK as a Director of Geo-Design Consulting Engineers UK with senior partners John Sharp and the late Stavros Bandis.

Robert has undertaken detailed designs and review assignments for many major schemes including large span caverns, heavily loaded foundations and slopes in the UK and overseas. He has acted as an Expert for mediations and arbitrations involving geological and hydrogeological related issues and has served as a Dispute Resolution Panel member.

In 2007 he was retained by Flint and Neil to provide geotechnical support in their role as Engineers to the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trustees and this will be the subject of his talk.

Event venue

Cardiff School of Engineering
Trevithick Lecture Theatre
The Parade
Cardiff CF24 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Graham Coombs

e: graham.coombs@ice.org.uk