For Sparky and myself, curiosity drives passion which in turn fuels our life's engine. Our passion was capturing the story of both unbuilding the Grace (1929 - 2007) and Pearman (1966 - 2007) Bridges and discovering the unbuilders. It takes a lot of passion to track a project from July 2005 until April 2007 - rain, shine, hurricanes or moving to Singapore. We discovered the joy of discovery learning. Ken Canty opened the front door for us - then Steve Testa, Ponch Billingsley and Mickey Rogers opened many side doors. Below are the highlights of what we discovered, who we met and what we learned.
And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)
Home is where one starts from. As we grow older The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated Of dead and living. Not the intense moment Isolated, with no before and after, But a lifetime burning in every moment And not the lifetime of one man only But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
Feb 11, 2005:
Today, Oliver Forget and his Freyssinet team pulled the last pair of stay cable. Being February, the air was clear and the top of the east tower provided a good view of the main span gap on the Ravenel as well as the Pearman and Grace cantilever sections as well as their feeder Drum Island sections.
March 29, 2005:
Shortly after the east and west main spans of the Ravenel were joined as seen from the east tower. Another good view of the Grace and Pearman structures crossing Town Creek and Drum Island.
April 14, 2006:
And Sparky's view of the unbuilding from the east tower. Gone are the Town Creek spans and the Drum Island structures. All that remains are paths across Drum island and the west Pearman cantilever and the Grace cantilever and approach sections. Mickey's Advanced Blasting Service has removed the D-25 to D-28 Pearman substructures and the jackup barge is resting in front of C-2 supporting drilling for implosion. The only remaining structure in Town Creek is P-3, Michale's pain-in-the-neck.
Before the opening of the Ravenel Bridge, looking toward Mt. Pleasant
March 22, 2005:
The east tower crane is still in position. The light gray section near the bottom of the photo, where the stay cable change direction, is where the east and west spans were joined.
May 22, 2005: Gone is the east tower crane
July 15, 2005:
The day before the opening as seen from the west tower. The white and yellow lane markers are in place. A clear view of the Mt. Pleasant approaches and the future home of the Mt. Pleasant observation and fishing pier.
April 14, 2006: Sparky's view.
Note the residual Pearman substructures that will become the supporting structure of the Mt. Pleasant observation and fishing pier. Julian Adams in Joanna, SC has super curious eyes and has noticed that near the expansion joints there are dark streaks in the middle of each lane on the east side of the westbound lanes and on the west side of the east bound lanes. My guess is this is oil from diesel engines that shakes loose after the small bounce associated with passing over the expansion joint. There must be a better solution to this question. Any other ideas?
And a closer look from above at the unbuilding: The east Grace cantilever
The east cantilever, P-10 and the dropped section between P-11 and P-12
and a bit of nostalgia from me: one of the last early morning photos I took of the Grace as I rode my bicycle across the Pearman to catch closeups of the Ravenel building process. (May 7, 2004)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer