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Aecom and Arup to draw up plans for Cardiff cable car

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Cardiff is working up plans for a £100 million ‘transformational’ cable car linking Cardiff Bay with the city centre

URS, part of global giant Aecom, and Arup have begun work on a feasibility study for the scheme - backed by Cardiff Business Council - which is being billed as a new ‘commuter link’.

The study which is expected to take three months to complete will investigate the costs, route and potential passenger numbers of the five mile-long scheme.

Early indications suggest the transport system could carry 2,500 passengers per hour and cost £20 million per mile to build.

The new transport link would take commuters from the Foster + Partners-masterplanned Cardiff Central Square and Powell Dobson’s revamped Cardiff Central Station to the Cardiff Bay area of the city.

The ambitious proposals, which could feature half a dozen ‘stations’, were first mentioned at this year’s MIPIM.

Nigel Roberts of Cardiff Business Council, said: ‘This is not just a pipe dream - we are very serious about the project.’

‘It won’t just be a tourist route. The proposed route already has a readymade footfall of commuters. It will provide awe-inspiring views and will also open up development sites in the area.’

This is not just a pipe dream

He added: ‘The architecture of the pylons and supporting structures will be very important. It should be iconic. We may run a mini-architectural competition to find an architect for the scheme.’

He said the organisation had been working on the project for the past 18 months and that it was already in talks with investors, stakeholders and the local government.

Earlier in the week chancellor George Osborne announced in his budget that government was opening negotiations with Cardiff over a city deal which would bring an estimated economic boost of £1 billion to the city’s economy over the next 15 years.

The deal would mean the city receives extra funding for major infrastructure projects like the cable car and a proposed £2 billion South Wales Metro scheme.

The idea for a cable car connecting Cardiff Bay with nearby Penarth was first mooted in 2011 when work began on London’s Emirates Airline in Greenwich.

The Cardiff news comes as London’s cable car came in for a savage attack from Labour’s London Assembly group, claiming the link between Greenwich and the Royal Docks was ‘far too unreliable to be a serious option for commuting’.

London’s cable car is far too unreliable for commuting

The group was reacting to new figures from TfL which show the Wilkinson Eyre-designed route over the Thames was shut 354 times between July 2012 and Dec 2014 as a ‘result of high winds, technical issues, lightening risk, port authority and police requests’.

Commuter numbers had also dropped to just 4,285 passengers per day.

Labour’s London Assembly transport spokesperson Val Shawcross said: ‘There’s no denying the cable car is a novel tourist attraction but as a transport project it just doesn’t fly. At least its dire passenger numbers mean that only minimal numbers of passengers will have been disrupted by the hundreds of hours of closures.’

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