£10 million car-free bridge will provide safe journey to school for Grangetown children

Many Ysgol Gynradd Hamadryad families currently use the busy Clarence Road bridge – or the even busier Cardiff Bay Link Road

A PROPOSED bridge linking Grangetown and Butetown will make it safer and easier for local children to get to school, according to parents.

The bridge for pedestrians and cyclists will cross the River Taff, linking areas between the Channel View estate and the Marl on the west bank of the river to Hamadryad Park on the east.

Sketches of the proposed bridge across the Taff.
Credit: Cardiff Council

According to the council, “the bridge would provide an important connection for communities on both sides of the river, providing a much needed alternative to the busy A4232 Cardiff Bay Link Road and A4119 Clarence Road for pedestrians and cyclists, including school children.”

Locals are largely in support of the bridge project, especially those with children who attend the nearby school, Ysgol Gynradd Hamadryad.

Ysgol Hamadryad
Credit: The Cardiffian

Parent Amy Johansson, 32, usually cycles with her nine-year-old daughter there and back.

They have to use the busy Clarence Road Bridge, which is open to vehicles. Ms Johansson says the pair have had close encounters with cars and been shouted at.

“Cars really don’t care,” she said. “They see cyclists and they just get annoyed, it’s really frustrating to the point that I’m now having to get a camera to keep myself and my child safe.”

Clarence Road Bridge, with its narrow cycle lanes.
Credit: Google Maps

Ms Johansson says that a lot of parents are pleased to see the bridge project finally happening as children’s safety on the way to school is a daily worry for many of them.

Dafydd Trystan, the chair of governors at the school, echoes these points. He said he thinks it is a great idea and says that schoolchildren have been part of the consultation process.

“If we’re trying to encourage more people to cycle in and around Cardiff, linking up Grangetown and Butetown with a safe cycling route makes a lot of sense and I think it’s particularly good news for the school,” he told The Cardiffian.

He feels that the Clarence Road Bridge is no longer fit for purpose, having never been designed for the volume and types of traffic which use it daily.

“A number of children and parents find the bridge scary and intimidating, as a confident cyclist myself, I know that cars and HGVs can come really close on that bridge,” he said.

The children’s bike store at Ysgol Hamadryad.
Credit: The Cardiffian

“So if you’re a young child wanting to cross that bridge on your bike then you’re going to be scared of them.

“There are probably 250 families who cross that bridge every day to get to the school – walking and cycling. So there’s a very high demand for a safe walking and cycling route.”

At the moment, there are currently two main routes for Ysgol Gynradd Hamadryad pupils living on the Grangetown side of the River Taff to get to school.

For a child living in the Channel View Estate, it is quickest to travel via Clarence Road Bridge on foot, or if cycling, via the busy A4232 Cardiff Bay Link Road.

Map showing the main routes from Grangetown to Ysgol Gynradd Hamadryad.
Credit: Google Maps

Both routes put cyclists and pedestrians in a position where they’re encountering heavy traffic and exposing themselves to risks such as collisions and pollution.

The new route via the proposed bridge would see those crossing between Grangetown and Butetown for school or other purposes avoiding these risks whilst being better connected.  

These are the hopes of Councillor Lynda Thorne, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities. 

“A key part of our Channel View vision is about providing better connectivity for people in the area, improving the local environment and delivering high quality community spaces. A new bridge across the Taff is an important part of these plans,” she said.

The proposed site of the bridge over the Taff.
Credit: Alfie Reynolds.

The plans for bridge are currently at the consultation stage with locals being asked for their input. It is hoped that it will be built between 2024 and 25.

It will cost an additional £10 to 12 million, on top of the £80 million being spent on the Channel View housing estate development which is due to enter phase one of construction in 2023.

However, Cardiff Council is keen to stress that funding for the bridge will not come from its budget.

It will instead be paid for by external grants, as well as funds from the developers of the Channel View project.

The proposed bridge has designated cylce & pedestrian lanes, unlike Clarence Road Bridge.
Credit: Cardiff Council

Despite this, the cost and choice to pursue the project has caused some discontent among some.  

Lynn, a retired former resident of the Hamadryad Hospital redevelopment, regularly goes on walks in the area.

She would rather see the council’s efforts go towards regenerating existing infrastructure.

“There is a walkway around part of the bay from the back of the ice rink, it is rotten and dangerous with big sections cordoned off. Why not fix this first?” she asked.

She does see that the bridge could be an asset, as long as the council isn’t paying for it. Lynn hopes to see a maintenance plan, and payment for it, put in place.

The Cardiffian has approached the council for further comment on this.

The River-view of the bridge.
Credit: Cardiff Council

Another former resident, John Seto, says he would support the proposal even if it was public money being spent.

“The cost of the bridge is a fraction of the cost of road projects and being paid for by grants is a massive bonus. You’ll find those who say it’s a waste of money are the vocal minority,” he said.

Mr Seto, 50, grew up in Grangetown and regularly visits his parents who still live there. He hopes the bridge will get more people realising the health benefits of walking and being active.

“I think it’s brilliant. Any infrastructure that’ll encourage people to walk or cycle is a positive. Build a short cut, people will use it.”

The public consultation for the project is open until December 6.

Have your say at; https://www.devandregencardiff.co.uk/consultations/channel-view-pedestrian-and-cycle-bridge/#1667304278584-4e288a6d-0f1a