Cardiff’s Castle Street: Work to begin for return of cars

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Police van driving along Castle Street, CardiffImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The road reopened to some vehicles in November - but remained closed to private cars

Roadworks to return cars to a key road in Cardiff city centre are expected to begin on Monday.

Castle Street reopened to buses and taxis in November, but has remained closed to cars since it was turned into an outdoor dining area last summer.

Cardiff council aims to reopen the road by the end of October.

Drivers and residents have complained of increased congestion nearby, but environmental groups said more space should be given to walkers and bikes.

The council is forecasting nitrogen dioxide, a harmful air pollutant, will increase by 40% on the road after it is fully reopened, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

However, council officers said the gas had increased on nearby residential streets as a result of the closure.

The work includes making the pavement on the south side of narrower to make space for an extra lane of traffic.

Work will take place between 20:00 and 06:00 so the road can remain open to buses and taxis during the day.

Image caption,
The road was home to an outdoor dining area last summer as Covid restrictions limited indoor capacity

Plans to reopen the road were announced in June, with council leader Huw Thomas saying the closure was causing more pollution in nearby areas like Grangetown, Butetown and Riverside.

The council said its consultation, including 6,227 responses, showed 54% wanted the road reopened to private cars, while 34% wanted them kept off.

But environmental campaigners argued the return would be detrimental, after reports showed overall air quality in the Cardiff significantly improved during lockdown.

The Welsh government also said it would be disappointed to see cars returning to the city centre road.

Media caption,

Could congestion charges help solve Cardiff's pollution?

A council spokesman said: "This new road layout will ensure that the council meets its legally binding requirement to lower pollution on Castle Street to acceptable limits in the shortest time possible and represents the council's original plan for the road as set out in the clean air plan produced by Cardiff council and subsequently approved by Welsh government in 2019."

Previous proposals have included bringing in a £2 congestion charge to tackle traffic and pollution, after research found air quality in the city among the worst in the UK.

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