Homeless in Vancouver: Concrete proof of another Broadway tunnel soil test

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      On Monday morning (November 16) at 9:42 a.m., I spotted my ninth Broadway tunnel soil testing crew, or rather, one-quarter of a soil testing crew—in the 100 block of Manitoba Street, on the north side of West Broadway Avenue.

      The only evidence of impending soil testing was the tell-tale coring machine sitting in the road behind a nondescript blue pickup truck belonging to the company SureCore that was parked by the northwest corner of  Manitoba Street.

      The driver of the truck confirmed that he was there to perform his part in another Broadway tunnel soil test. But he could shed no light on any schedule the testing might be following.

      He actually couldn’t do much of anything but sit and wait for the team with the ground-penetrating radar to show up and tell him where it was safe to cut his hole in the pavement.

      So, what if anything new did I learn today?

      I think I can say with some certainty that each Broadway soil test involves at least four different types of companies:

      • A flagging company, to mark off the work area
      • A utility locating service to find the spot to drill, using ground-penetrating radar
      • A concrete coring company to cut a large hole in the asphalt
      • A drilling company to collect the soil samples

      I also got a closer look at what the SureCore guy referred to as a coring machine, which is identical to the one that I saw being used by the soil testing crew in the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue on October 9.

      A WEKA diamond core drill. The pump tank contains oil to lubricate the drill bit.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      It’s a DK-26-L, a three-speed diamond core drill made by WEKA Elektrowerkzeuge, of Neubulach, Germany. It has an output power of 1.8 kilowatts at 15 amps, making it many times more powerful than, say, the hammer drills you can buy at Home Depot. I think the drill bit pictured may be 250 millimetres in diameter. 

      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.