TRP Chair Spotlight: Tim Kell

tim-kellTim Kell, Interim Engineer of Construction for the Illinois Department of Transportation, is serving as the Technical Review Panel (TRP) chair for two ICT/IDOT research projects currently under way.

The first project is “Best Management Practices and Incentives to Expedite Utility Relocation” (R27-153). Kell says that coordinating the relocation of utilities that are on State of Illinois rights-of-way that conflict with a proposed improvement is “of the utmost importance.”

He explains the benefits: “Effective coordination minimizes the cost to the utility companies and IDOT when administering our construction projects. The research will provide best management practices for improving our coordination efforts to help further mitigate costs associated with relocating affected utilities.”

For that project, the ICT research team, headed by Khaled El-Rayes, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, conducted a literature review, a review of IDOT’s current relocation practices and policies, and surveys of stakeholders. Remaining tasks include evaluating the compliance of various best management practices (BMPs) with laws, analyzing the costs and benefits of BMPs, and developing recommendations. A final report is expected to be published in March 2017.

The other project on which Kell serves as TRP chair is “Adapting Construction Staking and Inspection to Modern Technology” (R27-163). The main goal of the project is to develop written procedures and guidance for IDOT’s field staff in using new technologies in the construction staking of highway projects in Illinois.

Nora El-Gohary, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UIUC, is the principal investigator. The study includes a literature review, a survey to gather information from other state DOTs about their current practices, and identifying potential practices for use in Illinois. A final report on the project is planned for August 2017.

About the construction staking project Kell says, “Technology evolves very fast, and keeping up with that evolution is a challenge for IDOT. Construction staking has moved beyond the use of transits and levels and now relies heavily on 3D CADD [computer-aided design and drafting] models and layout equipment that uses GPS. These modern tools provide for fast and accurate construction layout, which has reduced construction time and cost.”

In his current position at IDOT, Kell serves as the interim Bureau Chief of the Central Bureau of Construction. Previous positions at the department include Field Engineer and Resident Engineer for the District 6 Bureau of Construction.

Kell has a B.S. in civil engineering (1990) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He started working for IDOT that year.