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ConnectCR pedestrian-bike bridge in Cedar Rapids will be named Alliant Energy LightLine
Bridge completion slated for 2024
CEDAR RAPIDS — A pedestrian-bike bridge connecting Czech Village and NewBo as part of the $20 million grassroots ConnectCR initiative will be named the Alliant Energy LightLine, reflecting the design of the structure that city officials expect will become a Cedar Rapids landmark.
City officials, ConnectCR partners and Alliant Energy representatives announced the name at a ceremony Wednesday. Construction will start in 2023, with completion of the bridge slated for 2024. Once complete, the bridge will be part of Cedar Rapids’ segment of the American Discovery Trail for pedestrians and bicyclists. It also is part of the Great American Rail-Trail.
The bridge’s tower will have two lighting systems. One is an LED-lighted internal system, which at night will appear to twinkle and will have multiple color options. The external lighting will flow from the base of the bridge and illuminate the cables as well as the tower itself.
Alliant Energy contributed $1 million to the ConnectCR project as part of over $8 million in private funds that support the project.
“The Alliant Energy LightLine will improve the quality of life for residents by providing a connecting point for recreation for pedestrians and cyclists all while offering these beautiful views of the city,” said Terry Kouba, president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company. “ … We're excited to be part of the project and for the Alliant Energy LightLine to serve as an iconic landmark in Cedar Rapids for all to enjoy.”
Engineering is underway for the project. Cedar Rapids contracted with Canadian firm WSP USA for over $1.2 million to provide technical designs and engineering for the new amenities at Cedar Lake, the pedestrian bridge and the connecting trails. Steve Sovern, a ConnectCR committee member, noted the project has gone through several design plans.
The bridge had been called the Sleeping Giant as it developed early on, and then later the Smokestack bridge to honor the old 193-foot Sinclair smokestack, one of the tallest smokestacks in Iowa before it was demolished. Built in 1909, it stood at the T.M. Sinclair & Co. slaughterhouse near the railroad bridge washed out in the 2008 flood.
The ConnectCR project is the largest public/private partnership in Cedar Rapids’ history. In addition to bridge construction, the project will transform Cedar Lake with accessible canoe and kayak launches, fishing piers and amenities, a pedestrian boardwalk over the lake, a challenge course and improved trail surfaces. The city of Cedar Rapids and Hall-Perrine Foundation each contributed $5 million as part of the total, which exceeds $20 million.
“It takes a lot of people to get to a point like this,” City Manager Jeff Pomeranz said. “It's a great team we have. We deeply appreciate the citizens that stepped forward and did their work, raised the dollars … but also the policy leadership at the City Council, as well as the nonprofit sector who were so supportive and helped us get to this point today. It is not an accident that we're here today.”
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