Changing the face of Charleston : The unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges
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April 5, 2006: Demolition Dynamics and the east Pearman cantilever

This story is the work product of a number of surrogate "Franks". Gary, Mickey, Ken, Sparky and Oscar, our latest recruit from Demolition Dynamics made this photo-essay possible. My role is to sit here in Singapore, enjoy a big bowl of something (Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Japanese or Indian) - that costs about $1.50 US - and do all the cheerleading. The result provides a good insight into we can leverage the Internet to provide news, entertainment and learning opportunities by self-recruited people spread around the world. I am pleased with the results.
One of the advantages of living in Singapore is that I am 12 hours ahead of Charleston. Consequently I have a sneak preview of what happens before it happens. (Just now it is 7:53 am April 5 and Charleston is 7:53 pm April 4). Today another steel section will be dropped.

The worksite - the Mt. Pleasant Pearman cantilever section

Charge placement. Look for the yellow stipes to locate the charges. If you can remember where these are located, then at the blast time, you will see the cantilever sections break apart at these locations.

The ironworker acrobats who prepared the site: Dan Segovia, David McCracken and Oscar Richards (Iron Workers Local 601). Nice view of C-3, drilled and ready for explosive unbuilding. A bit of backgound. Demolition Dynamics does the structural steel explosives while Mickey and Advanced Blasting Services does the concrete structures. It took me some time to realize that there were two groups involved. Anyway, meet some of the DD guys - belatedly for me, but nevertheless, time to meet another part of the unbuidling team.

(April 6, 7:37 am Singapore time). Oscar just sent me a few photos showing their team and their tools.

The Demolition Dynamics team: Left to right: Andrew Biewer (DD employee), Oscar Richards, ace photographer (Union IW local 601) David McCracken (IW), Steve pettigrew (DD Boss), William Jones (IW), and Stephen Bill (DD specialist) The rest of the names are Jeff Caudill Demolition Dynamics SS (Superintendent Specialist) Randy Ryan (DD) Dan Sagovia (IW). All of the IW's are from Union Local 601 Charleston. A small crew but as you can see they make a big BLAST!!!!!

David - just sort of chillin' a bit

The tools of their trade - a fuse necklace for Oscar, William and David

David and Oscar - before

How To

Oscar has provided a few photos illustrating some of their setup process. We shall have more next week

Here William and Andrew are preparing the kevlar that is used to wrap the explosives after they are placed. Note that in photos of the steel trusses, little yellow blobs were evident. These blobs are the explosives wrapped in kevlar. As an interesting note, Natasha our banana spider from several years ago creates a silk that is stronger than kevlar. It would be interesting to see if we could train a group of Nephila clavipes (bananna spider) to simply spin their web around the explosive charges.

Dan and David are reviewing the blueprints indicating the locations of charge placement

Dan pointing out a starting point

Oscar (our ace photographer) reviewing the blueprints one final time

Note the partial cut on the girder. Here David is preparing to move to his next position to burn another partial cut

(April 6 2006 Singapore time) - Our team is working overtime (at least working me overtime - its 1:40 am now) Gary Eaton caught the initial detonation event - unbelievable timing!

From the video, here is the ignition sequence
t = 0 msec t = 33 msec

t = 67 msec t = 100 msec

t = 133 msec t = 167 msec

t = 200 msec t = 233 msec

t = 267 msec t = 300 msec

t = 333 msec t = 367 msec

t = 400 msec t = 433 msec

t = 467 msec t = 500 msec

t = 533 msec t = 567 msec

These still frames display the sequence from ignition to its-all-over

After the party - happy ironworkers (check out Stan's grin (left))

Here is a very interesting photo of the base of the cantilever section. Compare the burn marks with the yellow explosive positions in the photo above. Also you can see where Mickey and Ken's team have drilled for the implosion-to-be of C3 (and C4).

A section of the Pearman

The mighty Grace overlooking the lowly Pearman

The ship channel is back with traffic flowing. Sparky took this photo at 9:50 am

After surgical treatment of one of the legs, the jackup barge is back in position - adjacent to C-4. Maybe for ABS to start loading?

A good view of C4 and C3 and you can see where Mickey has drilled them for implosion (Jodi - C4 and C3 are east of C2 and C1 :) )

And from afar - nice work by all - The Internet at its best

Returning to the dock, we always passed T-3, which of course is gone. But in its place is Michael and P-3 and an opportunity to update the progress on Pain-in-the-neck

Note the position of Michael's cab - reducing the pain in the neck

and Michael's hammer - up close.

Nice touch from Sparky - a ride home in his pick-up under the towers of the bridge that Wade, Peo, Marvin, Wilbur, Oliver, Phillip, Lewis, Manny and all the others built.

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Attribution: C. Frank Starmer and Sparky Witte from