CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) - Ameren Illinois natural gas crews will be installing new natural gas pipeline in Champaign.

This is the second summer in a row crews have been working to modernize the energy delivery system in town.

The first project is located in and around Devonshire and Galen drives. It will be conducted in two phases.

Crews are upgrading natural gas distribution pipeline and service connections. The existing pipeline is around 70 years old.

The new pipeline will be made out of a material that is more durable and less-prone to leakage.

Phase one started in March. Crews are upgrading 3.5 miles of pipeline and service connections for nearly 260 customers. That project should be completed in July. 

Phase two will start at the end of June. Crews will upgrade an additional 3.5 miles of pipeline for 300 customers. The project should be completed in September.

The second project starts this month in conjunction with road work on Prospect Avenue from Kirby Avenue to Curtis Road. Nearly 8,000 feet of six-inch natural gas distribution pipeline is being added to meet future growth and demand in southern Champaign and Savoy. The work should be done in September.

"We have been busy in Champaign the last two years strengthening the integrity and reliability of our natural gas infrastructure in town and around Champaign County," said Brian Brackney, Division Director. "Ameren Illinois is taking proactive steps with these enhancements to prepare for the future needs of our natural gas customers. We're excited to bring these enhancements to customers in and around Champaign."

The third project starts mid-June along Duncan Road from Kirby Avenue to John. Crews will be removing above-ground farm taps near the road and upgrading to new distribution services.

In Saint Joseph, crews are making enhancements to the equipment and pipeline inside the regulator station serves as the main natural gas feed into town. The work should be done after Labor Day weekend.