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.
During the building of the Ravenel bridge I discovered that between December and late February, the sun is sufficiently south that the early morning light reflects gold off the Ravenel edge girders
Joe Duffy and his phone + Mickey and his coffee
I just can't get enought of the early morning golden sun
with the Pearman and Grace skeletons in the background
and on our way to the worksite - more golden Ravenel Bridge
and early morning reflections
It all starts with a hole - top (left) and bottom (right) 36' deep that will be loaded with explosives and gravel. (Sometime, try to focus on the bottom of a 36 ft hole.)
The ABS team has been drilling using a John Henry (right) with a 4" cross-bit and a smaller drill (left)
I met John Henry - a drill on steroids mounted on an excavator
Meet John Henry
The drill that avoids steriods
Looking toward Mt. Pleasant - the drilling site with early morning continuing its elegant beginning
Sparky caught a nice shot of what is happening
Ken, Mickey and Brett laying out what I refer to as the ignition system but these red and yellow tubes are known as shock tubes developed in Sweden in 1967.. Shock tubes are long small plastic tubes that are coated with a thin film of explosive material. When ignited at one end, the shock wave generated by the explosive material travels about about 2000 m/sec or about 1 mile/sec. Delays can be incorporated into the shock tube system in order to control the detonation sequence.
Loading the first hole - Mickey holding the shock tube:
A nice image of "who's boss today, Mickey (right) or Ken (left). Brett, kneeling, knows that it doesn't matter - and I smile.
After Ken measures the depth of the hole Mickey is ready to drop a dynamite cylinder into the hole
down it goes
then pouring in some gravel between loads
Ken makes another measurement
down goes the next charge
Mickey with the iginition line
more loading and filling
Mickey tamping the explosives and gravel
Next Mickey ties in the shock tubes which establishe the detonation sequence. Today, the ignition will start at each end (north and south) and move inward toward the center. See the single frame video images: for visual confirmation
a closer look at tieing the lines together
then connecting the primary line that will link the north and south ends
Sparky captured me as I was learning from Mickey about how he ties in the sequencing lines
and me photographing Mickey during the tie-in
With the sequencing down, the little Testa that could (Brutus) picks us up and takes us to our photo spot
Next watch the ignition and results: ignition
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer