Homeless in Vancouver: Getting the dirt on a Broadway SkyTrain tunnel

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      Soil test drilling in connection with the proposed underground extension of the SkyTrain Millennium Line out to the University of British Columbia (UBC) has reached the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue.

      On Friday morning (October 9) before 9 a.m., the two centre lanes of the avenue were coned off and work crews with the local drilling company Foundex Explorations Ltd. began the process of taking core samples in the centre eastbound lane.

      These men and women know the drill!

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      First a flagger from Universal Flagging liberally distributed orange stanchions and traffic cones to block off the centre two lanes of the six-lane, one-block stretch of West Broadway Avenue.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Then a Foundex employee walked around a spot in the coned-off eastbound lane, pushing a device with the form factor of a lawnmower (some sort of geo-positional-magnetometer-whatsit, no doubt)

      Once a spot was chosen, a big fat drilling device, as big around as a 20-kilogram pail, was use to bore through the pavement.

      By 2 p.m., a towering vertical drilling rig mounted on a flatbed truck was in place to taking the required soil samples.

      By the way, various stages of the process were much louder than the images might suggest.

      They should be home and dry by the holidays

      On September 21, Foundex crews were seen a little over a kilometre east taking soil samples in the 700 block of West Broadway Avenue. Both the City of Vancouver and TransLink confirmed that the testing was in connection with the SkyTrain extension.

      Assuming that the sample drilling continues all the way to UBC, at the same rate (eight blocks in 18 days), then the work should be completed before Christmas, by the second week of December.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer. Follow Stanley on Twitter at @sqwabb.