Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges

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.

October 1, 2005:
Environmental Management and cleanup

Our view of the Charleston Stonehenge is changing as the Pearman support columns disappear. There was a test blast on Thursday that I missed. A second column was dropped, like a tree - but notching it on one side and then placing charges that dropped the column in the direction of the notch.

Here you can see the notching and drilling holes through the inside faces of the column.

Because of the proximity of the Pearman columns to the Ravenel columns, vibration monitors (brown boxes) are strategically placed to monitor vibration between the Ravenel columns.

Here you can see the vibration monitor between the round Ravenel columns.

One Pearman column has been dropped in this manner

and the concrete is being hammered to expose the rebar (for recycling)

Later - looking down on the column breakup and cleanup process

Another view of the cleanup operation. For me, the size scale is impressive - ranging from the CAT 345 to the Pearman columns to the Ravnel towers.

On Drum Island is another recycling station - with a black fabric barrier on the perimeter. This prevents runoff from the bridge debris from flowing into the surrounding environment (for example, when raining).

and all the while a nice heron is simply chillin' in the nearby pool

Meanshile, a crane has been position to start removing the girders over the Cooper River and between support columns - looking east -

and looking west -

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C. Frank Starmer