Preserving a masterpiece of engineering
Preserving a masterpiece of engineering

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton, Bristol

Refurbishment of the iconic landmark's toll houses


The project comprised the replacement of the existing 1950s toll booths on the Clifton side of the Bridge, and the 1970s addition to the original toll houses on the Leigh Woods side.

The original Victorian toll houses on the Leigh Woods approach were retained and carefully refurbished, along with two further listed buildings. In addition, three buildings were demolished and replaced.

The Grade-I Listed structures and buildings are visited by around 10 million people per year.

There were numerous challenges along the way, including differing ground conditions, live traffic, key events and thousands of daily visitors.

The team's considerate approach ensured that this iconic attraction was improved and that the project was delivered on time and within budget, whilst sympathetic to the impact on local residents, commuters and tourists.

Meticulous planning by the construction team, working in close collaboration with our customer, ensured the smooth running of the bridge at all times.

I just wanted to thank you for the professional way in which Beard have undertaken the work and also compliment you on the end result. Terrific. The disruption has indeed been minimal and your courtesy in keeping residents informed has been greatly appreciated. Thank you. Good luck for the future, you and your team certainly deserve it.

Keith Birrell, Clifton Resident






Clifton Suspension
Bridge Trust



Quantity Surveyor

Waite Associates Ltd

Form of Contract

JCT Standard with
Quantities 2016


With over 8,000 vehicle crossings every day, our challenge was to minimise disruption to users of the bridge and local residents throughout the construction process.

The Bridge is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year -. with over three million vehicle crossings a year, in addition to pedestrians, cyclists and tourists.

A vital part of the brief was to carefully execute the demolition, construction and refurbishment works to the five buildings with the minimum of disruption. This was essential not only to maintain toll revenue for the Trust but also so as not to disrupt the flow of traffic into and out of the city.


We identified key Bristol events where any disruption should be entirely avoided. These included the Bristol Harbour Festival, the famous Balloon Fiesta and the ‘Tour of Britain’ cycle race.

Our original programme identified five full road closures, but we managed to complete the project utilising only two.

Working in a live environment, regular effective communication with the customer team was essential to the smooth running of the bridge and keeping everyone safe. This close collaboration between all members of the team led to the successful delivery of the project, with almost no disruption to the operation of the bridge, while achieving high standards of quality.

Energy performance of the buildings is key, as they are operational 24 hours per day. The building façade is therefore very well insulated. Particular attention was given to details of interfaces between materials, so as to prevent air leakage. The building services were also designed with ease of maintenance in mind.

The toll houses were designed with raking natural ashlar stone walls, which mimicked the bridge piers and required each stone to be carefully and individually cut to angle. The stone was sourced from a quarry in the Forest of Dean and from a particular seam within the quarry. The stone was then hand sorted to ensure a precise match to the bridge. Prior to the works commencing, we constructed stonework sample panels to exhibit subtly different jointing techniques and presented these to the two sets of planning authorities involved.

The new toll houses were designed and planned with input from the bridge staff and trustees as well as consultation and feedback from local stakeholder groups and organisations, neighbours and national heritage bodies including Historic England and the Victorian Society.

The new toll houses were officially opened by Peaches Golding, Lord Lieutenant of Bristol.