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.
Sparky and I started at 6:30 this morning and I returned home about 6pm. What a day - success all the way around. The story is slowly coming together, but here is how it started. A perfect start of what was supposed to be rain.
Sparky and I hitched a ride with Susan and Manny
The worksite from Drum Island.
The worksite showing both the Pearman (foreground) and Grace (background) main spans
In parallel with what I was watching on the Mt Pleasant side was another team working on the Charleston side
To lower the main span, first it must be disconnected from the east and west cantilever sections. The main span is coupled to each cantilever section at the splice plat at the top and at the bottom. To the upper and lower girders must be cut - as well as the vertical beam coupling the upper and lower pins. The orange marks identify the locations of the cuts
Part of the ironworker team - Chris, Derek Jost from Mammoet (pronounced Mamoot), Speedy, Mike and Charles
Derek (Mammoet), Stan, Manny, Speedy and Nugget. Stan, Speedy and Nugget are famous for their Pearman acrobatics when harvesting concrete and steel girders
Lewis (in the foreground) worked on the Ravenel Bridge and I caught him several times with Philip working around their crane: Last Dinasour Standing. In the background is Richard Smoak (left) and Chris Barrett (right)
Making final cuts at the base.
progress with the base cuts
Cutting the top box girder
about 1/4 complete
about 3/4 complete
Manny, our friendly crane operator and Robbie
After the cutting was complete, the barges were repositioned and the Cape May placed under the Pearman main span. Large vertical pipes called spuds are used to hold the barges in position. Here Speedy and Chris were positioning the cable so that Manny could lift the spud.
At the other end, Scotty was working with the back spud
Frank and Charles after the barges had been repositioned.
Looking west at the jack setup
Looking at the east setup
and looking down
While cousin Arthur is looking on
The east (left) and west (right) jacks
The Cape May is the receiving barge directly under the Pearman main span
The west assembly just after the start of lowering
The just completed cut
At the roadway level - the gap between the beams that tie the pins together
The Cape May
Inside this innocent cargo box is the computer and pilot
for controlling the hydraulic jack
The display shows the position of the jack for each of the four assemblies.
A baffle was stubborn
but easily resolved
Then continued lowering
A view of the downed main span from the west
Joe Duffy assessing the downed main span
The cable coupling is detached from the south side
and the north side
Scott and Abdi talking while Mike looks at both coupling units
Here a diver is retrieving the stubborn baffle
Ah ha - bubbles mark the spot
The diver emerges
the rope is attached to the crane
and up up and away
Scott detaching the retrieval rope from the crane
and the stubborn baffle
Sparky - who has become an essential part of telling the unbuilding stories - with Speedy (left) and Scotty (middle) and their unseen iron worker colleagues who have brough a lot of new life to us and are essential players of telling these stories
Bud Skidmore from SC-ETV has also been a wonderful story-telling companion. Here was his vantage point from the Ravenel Bridge
Sparky is a very young man and has greater endurance than I do, Here is his bird's eye view of shipping the Pearman main span up the river
Initial separation from the worksite barge complex
and going home to the Navy Yard
with pleasant company
Meanwhile, I'm beat - and Cynthia gives me a ride back to the Sea Breeze
a look at the after - bathed in the late afternoon sun
Cynthia and cousin Arthur
A view of the Ravenel Bridge without the Pearman main span
and Jim Grier's group is still at it with the Drum Island cleanup. To the right of the Grace pier is what remains of Tenacity of purpose, the stubborn 3-layer rebar Pearman pier (D3)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer