After receiving her B.A. in chemistry from Illinois Wesleyan University, Kelly Morse began working as a junior chemist in the analytical chemistry laboratory at IDOT’s Bureau of Materials and Physical Research. She worked her way up through the ranks and became lab supervisor in 2000.
In that capacity, she supervises five senior chemists who perform testing on a variety of highway materials, such as traffic paint, bridge paint, cement, fly ash, glass beads, rock salt, aluminum, admixtures, curing compounds, topsoil, slag, metakaolin, pavement marking tape, and retroreflective sign sheeting. She also authorizes test results and communicates them to manufacturers, contractors, and state personnel.
Morse has served as Technical Review Panel (TRP) chair on four ICT/IDOT research projects and as a TRP member on two others. One project she chaired, “Evaluating Pavement Markings on Portland Cement Concrete and Various Asphalt Surfaces,” resulted in a recently revised IDOT policy (TRA-14) that implements the research. The project was initiated by IDOT to maximize the performance of pavement markings and optimize marking selection. The project team also developed a pavement marking selection guide.
“Now that it’s policy, we can begin our training,” says Morse. “We plan to use a consultant to develop a Web-based training program that focuses on the … implementation of the pavement selection guide and policy. Getting the guide out to the end users is a big step forward.”
The pavement marking research project received the High Impact Research Award at the 101st Annual Transportation and Highway Engineering Conference in February 2015. At the conference, Morse was also named by IDOT and ICT as one of the TRP Chairs of the Year for “providing leadership in innovation, improving current practices, and demonstrating a sincere commitment to research and implementation.”
Another current ICT/IDOT project for which Morse serves as TRP chair is “Investigating the Optimum Performance of Reflective Pavement Markers.” The primary objective of that project is to evaluate the installation and performance of various snowplowable reflective pavement markers to determine the best solutions and policy for roadways in Illinois.
Morse also participates on various committees and panels of the Transportation Research Board and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and assists with drafting and reviewing AASHTO and ASTM International methods and specifications.