There are many ways to get information in the city. One is file freedom of information requests. Another way is to just ask the workers what they are doing.
Each time I go by a new location with one of those boring crews drilling a hole into the street, I stop my bike or walk up and chat to the crew. What are you finding? Is it all limestone down there or are there soft spots? Can you identify fault lines and fissures? Any nasty surprises like big underground rivers? Vaults of money under the Bank of Canada building? Political bodies burried deep? UnCivil Service secrets?
The crews are friendly, and willing to talk for a few minutes with someone who is, for a change, not complaining.
Their answer is always the same: pure limestone. No rivers, nor money. No burried political bodies.
Note that I did not happen to run across them when they were drilling near the Rideau Centre and Campus Stations, where geomapping tells us to expect discontinuities and faults, so in those areas they will be identifying the boundaries of these expected events.
Here’s a snap of a big tunnel boring machine at work. It’s not in Ottawa, unfortunately, we are still drilling small bore holes. It’s sort of appropriate for small town bores like me.
The above pic is still of some educational value. It shows the rock face being bored. It shows the big curved forms being put in place immediately this side of the rock face; concrete stuff is pumped in behind the forms to make the finished tunnel surface. The concrete tunnel advances lock step with the boring operation. If Ottawans could stop bitching about the previous tunnel decisions, we could maybe move on with the current plans.