Interstate Power and Light Co., an Alliant Energy company has announced that nearly all details related to the rebuild of the downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa, electric system are now in place. A key piece was completed earlier this month when Alliant Energy and the City of Cedar Rapids completed the real estate transaction for the former Rescar site at 1800 10th Street SE. Efforts continue to determine locations for underground power lines to feed downtown Cedar Rapids from the new substation.

While demolition work could begin earlier, construction of the substation at the former Rescar site should start this spring. The substation could be complete early next year with customers progressively transferring to the substation in 2012 and 2013. When completed, Alliant Energy will decommission the Cedar Substation damaged in the 2008 flood and the Cedar Temporary Substation that was built in three weeks following the flooding to serve customers until a permanent substation could be completed.

Even with the construction process still ahead to replace the Cedar Temporary Substation, most customers currently served by the temporary substation will be transferred to another new downtown substation expected to be operational by summer. The substation is under construction on a site just north of the Five Seasons Parkade on the north end of downtown Cedar Rapids.

“The system of substations we’re building throughout the city is designed to provide redundancy for other substations,” explained Tom Aller, president of Alliant Energy’s Interstate Power and Light Co.. “This capacity will allow us to move most of our customers off the Cedar Temporary Substation this summer, well before the replacement substation at the Rescar site is ready to serve those customers.

Both substations and associated distribution lines are estimated to be a $25 million investment in the Cedar Rapids core area. The substations mark a significant step in flood recovery and both will provide greater protection from flooding impacts in the future. The redundancy, flood protection and capacity provided by the substations will also pave the way for future growth, including the Cedar Rapids Events Center, medical district, and new federal courthouse. ITC Midwest, Alliant Energy’s high-voltage transmission service provider has plans to upgrade service to both of the new downtown substations and make necessary connections between the new substations to further ensure reliability.

“When both substations and related line work is done, we won’t just have a system that returns us to pre-flood conditions, but rather one that’s better than ever before, providing a powerful engine for greater development in and around Cedar Rapids downtown and core neighborhoods,” added Aller. “We appreciate the leadership from Mayor Corbett, the entire City Council, neighborhood and business leaders, City Manager Pomeranz and numerous city staff members who assisted in the process that lead to our purchase of the former Rescar site.”