New upgrade at U of I slowly rolls into town

Local News

CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — Traffic in parts of Champaign and Savoy was a little slower than usual today.

State police and crews escorted a new boiler for the U of I from Tolono to campus.

It’s a 10-minute drive from Tolono to the U of I campus, but, it took them about three hours — and you wouldn’t believe it, but they were actually ahead of schedule.

“They made good time getting down here..”


“I think they had to move a wire or two but other than that..”


“It can move around a lot of tight areas, the boiler itself weighs 204,000 pounds. We have an operator that has basically a giant remote control and he can do a lot of things, it basically turns all wheels, you can maneuver it any way you want.”

A normally quick trip that took hours today.but sometimes it’s not the journey, it’s the destination.

“We have a certain destination, a certain route we have to bring the boiler down to this location.”

One of two new boilers is now home at the U of I Abbott Power Plant.

“With the ever expanding University of Illinois, we need to expand also to provide steam and electricity for the university and all of the expansions that the university goes through.”

They say that’s their biggest demand — “a lot of steam and water being produced by our boilers.”

So the two new boilers are a big upgrade.

“I believe the unit like that is 85 percent efficient. I don’t know what the older ones were, but nothing like that. I think it’ll be a major improvement by far, with reliability also”.

They worked with departments at the University of Illinois during the summer to work on getting the system ready for the upgrade.

They say it’ll take a few days to get the new boiler in place and up to standards, and — they’ll have to do it all again soon for the second one.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.