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ICE director general praises Cardiff canal project for being 'civil engineering at its best'

07 July 2023

Dr Janet Young toured the Canal Quarter project during her first visit to Wales.

ICE director general praises Cardiff canal project for being 'civil engineering at its best'
The project is on course to open in October of this year.

“The Cardiff Canal Quarter project is definitely civil engineering at its best,” newly appointed ICE director general, Dr Janet Young, has said during her first visit to Wales.

Dr Young toured the canal site, created by principal designer Atkins, to learn about the history behind it and the vision for its future.

She praised the work for being done to create an environmentally and sustainable leisure area in the heart of the city.

Speaking afterwards, Dr Young celebrated the project for “refurbishing existing engineering structures, opening up the public realm and adding considerable amenity for residents and visitors and regenerating the city centre.”

Providing benefits for the community

The canal – Dock Feeder - was covered over more than 70 years ago.

However, following recent developments in the area and the statutory Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS) legislation published by the Welsh government inspired Cardiff Council to make improvements.

This included the current cycle, pedestrian and public transport infrastructure in and around the Churchill Way and Station Terrace, as well as daylighting of the dock feeder canal on Churchill Way, creating a green public realm.

Uncovering the canal

During the visit, principal contractor Knights Brown explained the process to uncover the historical water way.

The work involved removing sections of precast concrete cover slabs and conducting remedial work on the walls that remain which, according to the contractor, were found to be surprisingly well preserved.

Overall landscape design is being undertaken to tie in the new feature which will include new tiered seating areas, planting and water features.

The existing drainage system in the area is being upgraded to be compliant with new SuDS legislation by installing bespoke rain gardens and tree pits to treat any runoff into the Dock Feeder.

New community spaces

ICE DG Wales visit on stage
The tour continued onto the cantilever stage.

Project managers, Faithful and Gould went on to explain that a cantilevered performance stage area (including a canopy) is being erected on the east side of the Dock Feeder.

While on the opposite side of the canal a sunken tiered seating area will give a view of the stage.

A new pergola feature will also provide covered seating and two new bridges will be installed to give access to either side.

The project is on course to open in October of this year and will bring new life to the area which has seen its importance in the city centre dwindle in recent years.

  • Belinda Thomas, communications lead at ICE Wales Cymru