Changing the face of Charleston : The unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges
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The story of building the Ravenel Bridge
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Unbuilding Highlights
(Apr 10)
Meeting St. Stories
(Jul 10 2006)
East Bay Stories
(Oct 10 2006)
Drum Island Stories
(Feb 17)
Pearman Bridge Stories
(Apr 3)
Grace Bridge Stories
(Apr 3)
Imposions: Prep and boom
(Mar 27)
Unbuilding Bridge Blog
(July 23 2006)
Unbuilding Challenges
(Mar 13)
Learning Links
(Feb 20)
Unbuilding Stories
(Mar 13)
Video and Sounds
(Feb 28)

December 6, 2005:
Raising the Grace span from Town Creek

Well, what started as a major disaster for me (overwriting the 2 sec video of the morning blast) - finished with a big big smile. Mickey reminded me (Advanced Blasting Services) - of the afternoon retrieval (unblasting) which I managed to forget - of course, if you drop the segment in the am - then you must undrop it in the pm. So here is the story - and the conditions could not have been better - nice evening light, Gary and Sparky and Bud, the to-be-lit Ravenel in the background and the opportunity to practice night photography.

I did manage to get some video this evening without overwriting it. Here are two segments:

Here is the setup - The Grace cantilever section to the left, a (I-did-not-know-what-to-call-it-then) twin boom floating derrick for lifting, a red crane for helping and lots of friends. I now know the name of the yellow twin boom derrick. Many thanks to Mr. Oswalt, part owner of Charleston Heavy Lift who sent me a wonderful calendar and some technical information about their twin boom crane. It has a lifting capacity of 450 tons when the boom angle is 81.15 degrees. Here, I would guess that the boom angle is about 60 degrees - which has a slightly less (435 tons) lifting capacity.

A closer view of the lift bar and attached cables - just like picking a girder - except under water

The light was fantastic - so another view of the setup

and a closer view of the lift bar and cables

Ever watch the evening sun reflecting on the Ravenel Bridge? I could not resist

A closer view - with all the cooks, chiefs, bottle washers and cheerleaders

Someone forgot to turn the Ravenel lights on

The beginning of the lift

Look closely on the left and you'll see rods poking up through the water and one of the white buoys behind them

Lifting a bit more

and a closer look - and now the Ravenel lights are on

More lifting - and there was a small problem. Something was binding one end of the Grace structure - so the barge was rotated, thus rotating the segment and unbinding it from whatever -

then more lifting

Sparky got a better contrast

and more lifting

and a closer look at the lifting

Now you can see the floor girder structure

And here, the section is completely out of the water

Enter the barge (from stage left) for receiving Grace -

Rotating the barge

and lowering Grace onto the barge

From Sparky's position, you can see the fragments that need to be cut

Cutting a few fragments to promote a soft landing

Sparky got a better shot of the cutting

then down


And from Sparky's location - a better view

and now in the sleeping position

and as seen by Sparky

A last look - time to go home - and good night and good luck

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Attribution: C. Frank Starmer and Sparky Witte from