Geology of the Avon Gorge : A study of the rock face & bridge foundations, Bristol

4 April, 2017 | 18:00 - 19:30

Venue address:

Pugsley Lecture Theatre
University of Bristol
Queens Building, University Walk
Bristol BS8 1TR
United Kingdom
Discover more about the Avon Gorge than you first thought.
Discover more about the Avon Gorge than you first thought.

About this event

This is a joint presentation for the ICE and Western Regional Group of the Geological Society.

The talk will cover the geology of the Avon Gorge and focus upon the site investigation and rock stabilisation works which are critical to maintaining these imposing rock faces, which support Brunel's iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Bob Benton will begin by describing past problems with the Avon Gorge rock faces and how these have led to the construction of the rock protection shelter over the A4 Portway road. A review of the design and construction of the Rockfall Gallery will focus upon the requirement for rock anchoring and piled foundations.

Robert MacKean will follow with a review of the geology of the Avon Gorge and discuss his involvement in recent investigations to evaluate the bridge abutments and foundations to the masonry towers.

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Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed on any matters by the presenters or participants during or in connection with this presentation are solely the views of the authors of the respective comments and/or opinions and must not be taken to be the views of ICE or any other organisation. ICE makes no representations, warranties or assurances concerning any information provided in these presentations and accepts no responsibility for the content and/or accuracy.


Robert MacKean

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

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.

Bob Benton

Bob Benton was one of the team that designed the Gallery. He has designed buildings and bridges for major consulting engineers and local authority highway and engineering departments, and worked for contractors on various motorway projects. Bob has been a visiting lecturer on structural design at the University of the West of England for 'a very long time', and an ICE trainer for almost as long. He is the author of a book on structural detailing.