Cardiff’s canal for city center development unveiled

Churchill Way has been torn up to reveal the dock's long-buried feeder canal
Churchill Way has been torn up to reveal the dock’s long-buried feeder canal

A 70m section of the long-buried dock feeder canal is now becoming a central feature of Cardiff City Council’s £6 million Canal Quarter development.

Consulting engineer Atkins has been appointed by Cardiff Council to design the Canal Quarter development, working with sister quantity surveying firm Faithful & Gould, which provides project management and commercial support. Main contractor is Knights Brown.

The development scheme includes the natural lighting of 70 meters of the quayside feeder canal on Churchill Way, Cardiff. The Dock Feeder was originally built in the late 19th century to provide a constant supply of water to Bute Docks – allowing large container ships to dock in Cardiff even at low tide. It helped make Cardiff a leading port for iron ore and coal.

The canal was laid between 1948 and 1950 but is now uncovered to help reduce traffic in the city center and manage surface water drainage.

In addition to opening the canal, the Canal Quarter project includes the construction of two footbridges, a cantilever and rain gardens to manage surface water runoff.

The project also includes works on the surrounding road network, installation of cycle lanes, charging points for electric taxis and new bus connections.

Ben Ferguson, senior landscape architect at Atkins and lead designer on the project, said: “It’s great to be able to reflect the industrial heritage of the area by reopening the dock feeder. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this waterway was at the center of a tree-lined boulevard, and restoring this aesthetic and revealing the waterway once again within a future and sustainable design will be incredibly exciting.”

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Cardiff City Councilor Dan De’Ath, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport, said: “The opening of the quayside feeder canal and the new transport scheme will not only mark the start of a new regional center for the city and they will act as a catalyst for new investment but will play an essential role in managing traffic flow and surface water drainage in the city centre.

“A series of rain gardens will be constructed, with specific soil and plantings to treat surface water to remove pollutants before the water flows into the canal. This will ensure that 3,700 square meters of water is diverted away from the sewer system each year, reducing the cost and energy of treating this water through the Cardiff Bay sewage pumping station.”

Atkins' plan for the new Canal Quarter
Atkins’ plan for the new Canal Quarter

The project, which started in February 2022, is part of a wider masterplan to develop a new quarter in the city, linking Bridge Street with David Street. Charles Street, Tredegar Street, Guildford Crescent and Barrack Lane for the development of a high density mixed use development.

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