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.
The jackup barge was standing beside C3 - the third Cooper River pier within the Coooper River ship channel
Once stabilized, preload tanks are filled with water, adding additional weight to stabilize the footing. To undock, the preload tanks are emptied whuch creating a positive buoyancy which can pull the legs free of the bottom. Additional positive buoyancy can be generated by emptying the preload tanks. (And please provide any corrections to this description).
Next Calvin Konya (from Precision Blasting Services in Montville Ohio), Mickey and I took the elevator from Sharon's taxi to the barge. On the left you can see our elevator cab, suspended by the crane, slowly descending - and on the right, climbing in.
On the way up, there was a great view of the foundation of the 1/4 mile long Mt. Pleasant pier
You can see the correspence with the Pearman foundations shown on this schematic
and on the barge, Mickey's team was busy finishing drilling holes for imploding the pier.
Kerry and Silas were drilling into the pier cap. With your curious eyes, you see some red areas have 1 hole, some have 2, 3 or maybe 7 holes. The problem is that of lacking X-ray vision. When they start drilling a hole, they may encounter embedded rebar - so they start a new hole until they find a clear path for completing the hole.
Felix and Ernest were drilling into the column. Click for a video of drilling (13 Mb quicktime).
A closer view of Felix and Ernest drilling
Captain Bill decided I needed a reminder that I actually visited his pride and joy and challenge
The yellow cylinders shown here are the tops of the barge legs - left leg
and right leg with the rack (vertical gear) visible
and a wider view
and back leg - you can see two teeth of the rack on the left side
Here is the hydraulic motor that drives the pinion
Kerry and Silas are drilling into the cap while Felix and Junior are drilling into the column
When finished, these almost-martians (because of the breathing filters) come down
while Kerry and Silas continue drilling
and when finished, return to earth
The control room - with the carpenter's level in front of Capt. Bill. A great example of low-tech tools for maintaining the attitude of the jackup barge.
The start of our descent - which takes about 20 minutes
The view coming down is simply spectacular - here you see the roots of D28 - D23 that were imploded over the past 2 weeks
and a closer view when we reached the river surface
Looking east - another view of the Mt. Pleasant pier foundation
and a closer view when we reached the river surface looking east. An excavator (in the background - requires curious eyes to see it) with its hammer is busy working on one of the pier bases.
Capt. Bill drives us to C2 where Mickey's team will drill tomorrow
and once we are in position, Bill slowly drops the 3 legs, while watching his levels. Note the bubble is perfectly centered.
This is high tech at its highest - his right angle array of carpenter levels.
The Gunny is coming to help position us
and as the sun drops, the Gunny also has a golden hue
and finally, when the legs are in place, the surface is lifted to maintain the 1.3 million pounds of weight on the 3 legs
Mike King prepares the ladder so that we can escape
while Ken operates the crane
A view as we leave - note that the hull is completely elevated above the river surface
Compare this with the 2nd photo from the top - when the jackup barge was standing beside C-3
Now - it is positioned adjacent to C-2
and the late afternoon sun gives the Ravenel diamonds a golden hue
The Gunny takes us back to Town Creek - where our iron workers have been working. Sparky spent the afternoon with them - stay tuned
The East Grace truss
and the West Pearman and Grace trusses
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer