Work starts on River Tawe pontoon

Contractors working on behalf of Swansea Council have started putting in place the new structure at a Landore riverbank location on the Tawe.

It’s taking shape on the river’s western bank, around 1.5 miles upstream from the Tawe Barrage and next to the former Hafod Morfa Copperworks site which is being transformed as part of the council’s ongoing £1bn city regeneration.

Once complete, the pontoon – which has planning permission – will be available for use by groups that already use the river, including Copper Jack cruises, the City of Swansea Rowing Club and Swansea University Rowing Club.

Work is due to be complete this month. It will include new railings and gates, as well as energy-efficient LED lighting – all of which have already been installed.

The pontoon project’s funding included support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which is funded by the European Union and Welsh Government (main pontoon and lighting) and from the Welsh Government’s Small Scale Coastal Infrastructure Scheme (stainless steel gates and railings).

Main contractors are pontoon specialists Inland and Coastal Marina Systems.

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “The Tawe was at the heart of Swansea life for many years; it will be again in future as we breathe more life into the river corridor for the benefit of local people and visitors.

“Our new river pontoon – plus two others we plan – will help bring more people to attractions like the copperworks. Already, Penderyn has recently opened an operational distillery and visitor centre there.

“The pontoons form part of a wider project that’ll celebrate Swansea’s rich history, create jobs for local people and open up innovative new spaces for local businesses.”

Plans for the pontoon now being installed were drawn up for the council by heritage specialists Ashley Davies Architects and structural specialists Mann Williams.

The structure will sit alongside an existing river walk and a disused historic quay wall. Quayside and pontoon will be linked by a bridgehead platform and footbridge.

The pontoon and neighbouring quayside will have safety equipment, signs and wall ladders. New life buoys will be installed along with lockable gates for key holders.

The structure – mainly in steel and concrete, and with buoyancy units – will rise and fall with river levels.

A home for otters has been installed on the river as part of the scheme.

The other two planned pontoons – one close to the junction of The Strand and New Cut Road, and one at Morfa Quay near the Stadium, plus a Swansea Museum extension, further transformation of the copperworks and improvements to The Strand, are part of a £28.7m Lower Swansea Valley improvement project being led by the council and part-funded by the UK Government’s Levelling Up programme.