PONTOON BEACH/ALTON/GODFREY - Ameren Illinois customers in and around Madison County will see energy at work firsthand throughout the spring and well into the fall as crews replace vintage steel pipeline and natural gas services with modern, corrosion-resistant polyethylene material.

Crews working on behalf of Ameren Illinois will replace more than five miles of natural gas pipeline and nearly 375 individual customers' natural gas services. The total investment for these projects is $8.2 million and all should be completed by the end of the year, weather pending.

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Communities include:

Pontoon Beach – Crews will start working in July at the Gateway Tradeport to upgrade a high-pressured natural gas pipeline to provide additional capacity to the natural gas system to meet current and future development for the Pontoon Beach area. Total project investment is $3.1 million.

Alton – In March, crews will begin work in two neighborhoods starting on State Street. They will upgrade 6,600 feet of pipeline and more than 90 customers' natural gas services. In June, work will begin on Hy-Vista Drive where 5,400 feet of pipeline will be upgraded and 95 customers' services. Total project investment is $3.1 million.

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Godfrey – For customers living in Godfrey, crews will be working in three different neighborhoods starting in August on Tamara Lane. Tamara Lane upgrades include 1,600 feet of pipeline and nine customers' services. In late August, crews will start work on Bambi Drive and Hill Drive where 10,000 feet of pipeline and more than 140 customers' service will be upgraded. Total project investment is $1.4 million.

Wood River – Beginning in April, crews will begin work on Orchard Avenue to replace 5,100 feet of pipeline and more than 30 customers' gas services. Total project investment is $600,000.

"These proactive steps will ensure the continued safe, reliable delivery of natural gas today while preparing us to meet the future needs of our natural gas customers," said Langston Rose, Director of Western Gas Operations. "Many customers think of Ameren Illinois as an electric company, but we also provide very reliable natural gas service to the greater Madison County area. We have more than 130 full-time natural gas employees in the Western Region who maintain the system; respond to gas leaks free of charge, 24/7; install new services; and perform construction projects."

Ameren Illinois is asking motorists driving through these local neighborhoods to be mindful of the trucks moving and employees working near the streets and to slow down in the work zone.

"We need everyone's help when it comes to work zone safety in these neighborhoods and on every route where workers are present," said Karen Boulanger, Director of Safety for Ameren Illinois. "The signs and cones create their protected work area. Please slow down as you drive on these local streets and pay attention. Our co-workers want to return home safely at the end of the day."

For projects in process, a brief interruption of natural gas service is required while switching individual services over to their new services just before the work is completed. Ameren Illinois will relight natural gas appliances for any customer who requests it. If a customer is not home at the time of the service interruption, the customer may call 1-800-755-5000 to schedule a convenient time for the company to relight natural gas appliances, at no charge.

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