Ameren Illinois Plans Natural Gas Pipeline Upgrades

(UC) — Ameren Illinois said it will replace 12 miles of aging natural gas pipeline in two Illinois locations for a combined cost of $64 million as part of its planned system upgrades around the state.

(photo: Ameren Illinois)

The projects include replacement of about 5 miles of 1930s-era steel pipe at Pekin, Illinois, south of Peoria, with new 16-inch steel pipe.  Crews were scheduled to begin work this week on the $32 million project, which is expected to begin service by early summer.

The projects also include the replacement of 7 miles of gas pipeline installed during the 1960s in the Glen Carbon area of Madison County with a combination of 16-, 12- and 10-inch pipeline.  That project, also budgeted at $32 million, is the latest in a series of system upgrades in the southern Illinois county, which borders the Mississippi River near St. Louis.

Ameren Illinois last year spent $48 million to upgrade 14 miles of old Madison County pipeline between the towns of Troy and Highland. In 2018, the company spent about $18 million to replace 6.4 miles of pipeline.

Richard Mark, chairman and president of Ameren Illinois, said the upgrades are "part of an overall statewide plan to upgrade and improve our natural gas system."

Collinsville-based Ameren Illinois serves 1.2 million electric customers and more than 800,000 natural gas customers across nearly 44,000 square miles of central and southern Illinois

Eric Kozak, vice president of Gas Operations at Ameren Illinois, told Alton's WBGZ radio that there have been no major issues with the pipe being replaced along State Routes 157 and 162 in Glen Carbon, but the time has come to replace the 60-year-old lines. 

"One of the biggest advantages is that we can do inline inspection when we replace lines like these," Kozak said. "We're required to go out and inspect these lines every so often, and this gives us the opportunity to use the latest technology to inspect the lines."

The upgraded Madison County lines are scheduled to be completed and in-service by early fall. An Ameren Illinois spokesperson said additional replacement projects are being planned and may be announced soon.

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