Major regeneration project unearths historic canal

A canal that was paved over more than 70 years ago has been rediscovered as part of works to regenerate Cardiff city centre.

Seventy metres of the Dock Feeder Canal on Churchill Way, which was constructed in the late 19th century to provide a constant supply of water to the Bute docks, will be ‘daylighted’ for the scheme, which will see the construction of two pedestrian footbridges, a cantilevered stage and rain gardens to manage surface water drainage, among other structures.

The project, valued at £6m, has been designed by engineering firms Atkins – appointed by Cardiff council – and is managed by Faithful+Gould. Knights Brown is involved in the construction.

Covered between 1948 and 1950, the canal will now form the centrepiece of a new sustainable urban district in the city centre. The project, which started in February, will involve new cycleways, electric vehicle taxi charging points and the refurbishment of existing highways.

It is part of a masterplan to develop a new district in the city, interlinking Bridge Street, David Street, Charles Street, Tredegar Street, Guildford Crescent and Barrack Lane to develop a high-density mixed-use development, with homes, hotels, hospitality, high quality offices, leisure and retail units.

Councillor Dan De’Ath, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport at Cardiff council, said: “The opening of the dock feeder canal and the new transport scheme will not only mark the beginning of a new district centre for the city and act as a catalyst for new investment, but it will play an essential role in managing traffic flow and surface water drainage in the city centre.

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

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