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Cardiff Bay Barrage, docks and Tiger Bay, Cardiff, south Wales
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Cardiff Bay Barrage
A giant engineering project creates a 500 acre freshwater lake
(Words/photos: Mike Slocombe, Sept 2006)

The Cardiff Bay Barrage lies across the mouth of Cardiff Bay and was built at a cost of £220m to convert the mudflats into a 200-hectare freshwater lake.

Situated between Queen Alexandra Dock and Penarth Head and built in the 1990s, it was one of the biggest largest civil engineering projects in Europe.

Cardiff Barrage, Cardiff Bay, docks and Tiger Bay, Cardiff, south Wales
Stormy weather, Cardiff Barrage, August 2002

Designed to keep the sea out and provide a tourist-attracting fresh water lake and marina, the barrage was created to fix the 'problem' of the bay's huge tidal range, grabbing the output of the River Taff and River Ely to create a 2km≤ (500 acre) freshwater lake.

Being part of the Bristol Channel - which boasts the second largest tidal range in the world - meant that for half the day the bay would be bereft of water, exposing a large vista of unappealing mudflats.

Against a background of protests from local politicians, local residents and environmental groups, construction started in 1994.

The project was completed in 1999 and shortly afterwards the barrage came into effect.

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Cardiff Barrage views

Cardiff Barrage, Cardiff Bay, docks and Tiger Bay, Cardiff, south Wales

Cardiff Barrage, Cardiff Bay, docks and Tiger Bay, Cardiff, south Wales

Cardiff Barrage, Cardiff Bay, docks and Tiger Bay, Cardiff, south Wales

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Cardiff Barrage, Cardiff Bay, docks and Tiger Bay, Cardiff, south Wales

Cardiff Barrage, Cardiff Bay, docks and Tiger Bay, Cardiff, south Wales

Cardiff Barrage, Cardiff Bay, docks and Tiger Bay, Cardiff, south Wales

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