Business

MidAmerican Energy announces natural gas upgrades for Iowa City, Quad Cities

MidAmerican Energy has announced a five-year, $72 million project to upgrade natural gas distribution systems and equipment for nearly 18,000 residential and business customers in Iowa City and the Quad Cities.

The project will impact more than 1,700 Iowa City customers and it isn’t known at this stage how the project might affect customer rates, MidAmerican spokesman Geoff Greenwood said.

Work will begin this month to replace more than 340 miles of low-pressure distribution systems with modern intermediate-pressure systems. Project completion is expected in 2024, according to a Tuesday news release.

Iowa upgrades will be focused in portions of Iowa City and Davenport, with additional work planned for East Moline, Moline, the Rock Islands and Silvis in Illinois.

The remaining portions of the communities where work will occur already host upgraded systems, and all MidAmerican’s systems will be intermediate-pressure by the end of the project.

In Iowa City, work this summer will focus on a portion of downtown west of Gilbert Street and north of East Burlington Street and property north of Kirkwood Avenue and east of Gilbert Street.

From 2020-2023, upgrades will take place in a much larger swathe of the city — bounded roughly by the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City railroad, Dubuque Street, Brown Street and Reno Street.

More than 2,600 residential gas meters also will be relocated from inside homes to exterior locations during the project, providing the utility easier access.

“Our top priority is to deliver safe and reliable natural gas to our customers,” Alicia Knapp, MidAmerican Energy vice president of gas delivery, said in the release. “Replacement of our low-pressure distribution systems is part of a strategic plan to ensure that we do that well into the future.”

According to the release, work already is underway to install temporary monitoring and control equipment in advance of the project. Equipment includes an aboveground pole, with an electrical box and solar panel.

Work will begin next week in East Moline to replace underground pipes and move gas meters. In June, work will begin in Silvis, and from July through August, upgrades will take place in Iowa City.

Moline’s upgrades are slated for August through October.

Residents and business owners will be notified of work planned on their property.

“We want to minimize how this project impacts our customers and keep an open line of communication with them, so homeowners and business owners know what to expect and when to expect it in their neighborhood,” Knapp said in the release.

Based in Des Moines, MidAmerican serves more than 783,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota. Another 765,000 natural-gas customers live in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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