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Employee Spotlight Arterial Traffic Operations Engineer Kalpana Kannan-Hosadurga

Kalpana Kannan-Hosadurga joined the department in September 2018, serving as Arterial Temporary Traffic Control Supervisor until her promotion to District 1 Arterial Traffic Operations Engineer in April.

Originally from Chennai, a city in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India, she grew up in various countries throughout the Middle East before returning to India for her undergraduate degree. She then moved to Chicago to pursue her master’s degree.

Here are some of her thoughts about her job and life outside of IDOT.

What does your current job entail?

As the Arterial Traffic Operations Engineer in District 1, I am responsible for work on the arterial routes, including the selection and installation of traffic control devices, the development of effective temporary traffic control strategies for construction projects, and the issuance of traffic permits for highway access and work within the right of way.

As part of my responsibilities, I manage the Arterials Traffic Field Engineering Unit, the Sign Shops and the Traffic Permits Unit. I am able to perform my duties efficiently with the assistance of capable staff in these units.

What’s the most important impact of your work?

The Arterials Section works diligently on a daily basis with the resources available to create safe and efficient traffic conditions for all roadway users.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Like most engineers, I like to solve problems. Although it is not always possible to come up with the perfect solution to an operational issue, it makes me glad that I am able to assist in providing the best possible cost-effective strategies to improve safety. I am happy to be part of the IDOT team that strives to continuously improve safety on our roadways.

Any plans for your time with the department?

Since assuming my new role, I am still in the learning phase when it comes to some of my responsibilities. Along with performing my daily duties, I hope to continue to gain knowledge and momentum in this position with the help of the people I work with to create unified goals that promote collaboration and help advance the section as a whole.

Anything to tell us about your section?

We are committed to improving safety and mobility on the district’s arterial roadways, which are characterized by high traffic volumes and varying traffic patterns. The arterial field engineers and sign shop staff regularly review and patrol the roads in their areas to install and maintain all necessary signing, pavement markings and other traffic control devices.

The temporary traffic control field engineers are responsible for monitoring and maintaining effective traffic control within the arterial work zones. The Traffic Permits Unit conducts comprehensive engineering assessments of all permit applications and issues permits for access, construction and other work within state right-of-way like use of state routes for local detours, special vehicle movement and special events. Section staff also respond to requests or inquiries from residents, officials of local municipalities, schools, police, park districts, the tollway and other departments of transportation.

What prepared you for your current role?

I have an undergraduate degree in architecture from the University of Madras, a master’s degree in transportation engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology and about 19 years of experience in various aspects of road design and traffic operations. I have six years of experience working at IDOT as an in-house consultant in the Bureau of Traffic assisting the Arterials and Expressways Units. I think that my many years of working at IDOT have given me a valuable understanding of its policies and procedures, work ethic and culture, and is what has truly prepared me for this role.