Changing the face of Charleston : The unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges
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January 13, 2007: Michael Rogers makes his debut
Loading T-2, cleaning up T-1

Meet Michael - another of the Rogers' clan - making his debut as part of Advanced Blasting Services. Today, he and Carlos will clear each drilled blast hole of dust and debris before Mickey and Ken load it. Indeed, today is a magnificant example of parallel processing.

1) Michael and Carlos clearing blast holes (there is probably a better word but Mickey forgot to teach me this part of the vocabulary) by inserting a tube and then turning on compressed air to clear the debris from the hole.

2) Mickey and Ken will load each blast hole, according to their plan. Each blast hole will have a predetermined amount of charge that varies in order to achieve the proper implosion. Since some blast holes will have more dynamite than others, but the blast holes are drilled to the same depth, plastic pipe segments are cut to approximate the length of a single charge. In addition, packets of stemming (crushed rock) are placed between the charge clusters. The stemming absorbs the some of the horizontal shock wave along the axis of the blast hold and retards shot-gun effects and perhaps amplifies the blsat wave perpendicular to the blast hole. After each component, a tapping rod is used to assure that each segment is seated properly at the end of the hole. 3) Manny will be running his elevator - managing Carlos and Michael as the clear tubes as well as for fetch and tote episodes, restocking Ken and Mickey's dynamite, stemming packs, detonators and plastic tubes.

4) Michael Hebb and Richard Simmons will be clearing - Michael with his grapple and Richard with his front end loader

5) Paul will be the symphony conductor today (as usual)

6) Sparky is my alter-ego, photo journalist, building contractor, friend, therapist and just all around great guy.

But before starting today's episode - meet the players behind the scenes - meet the engines that keep Mickey and Ken fully functional

The supporting cast: Two moms: Debbie Rogers and left, Anna Tully - and the kids: Sarah Tully (dark t-shirt), friend Ashley (Sarah's friend) and Jordan in the foreground

Sarah and Jordan filling bags with stemming with Ashley providing refreshments

The Discovery channel has discovered Ken's kids and friends

Sarah (left), Jordan (right) (Ken's kids) and Ashley (a friend)

Here is the worksite: Manny and his mean red machine on the left, Carlos and Michael suspended beside the left column of T-2, the man basket machine in the middle, for Mickey and Ken and their loading, and Michael Hebb's grapple to the right.


Michael Hebb and what in the trade is knows as a long reach (actually his 1250 has a super long reach))


Here are the essentials: Clearly Michael prepared some of the bags of stemming - or was this the handy work of Jordan, Ashley and Sarah? Which dad - Mickey or Ken?


But who prepared the spacers?

The dynamite: a no brainer - prepared by Dyno Nobel

Mickey with a tub of cylindrical bags of stemming with Ken in the back checking his list (twice, just like Santa)


Michael with the blow tube in the read position while Carlos identifies the correct blast hole. (The reason you see a cluster of holes in some locations is that during drilling the blast holes, you encounter rebar and so back the drill out, and try another location. Sometimes you are lucky and get it right the first time, but without superman and x-ray vision, usually 2 or 3 tries are required).


Carlos checking the blast hole


Carlos getting ready to insert the blow tube into the blast hole


The inserted position - now Michael turns on the compressed air


and out comes a little dust and drilling residue


Then Michael slowly pulls the blow tube back with Carlos guiding


Clearing the next blast hole


Will the real blast hold please identify herself (mumbles Carlos)


Michael inserts the blow tube


In the meantime, Mickey and Ken, with a load of dynamite, plastic tubes as spacers, detonators and bags of stemming


A nice view of Manny's elevator service (for Carlos and Michael), Mickey and Ken heading for the T-2 face.


Starting from the top down - you can see the shock tubes from blast holes already filled and tied in


While Michael and Carlos demonstrate parallel processing - clearing more blast holes


Ken placing an explosive charge with detonator (see the hanging shock tube) into the blast hold


Then using the rod to push the charge to the end of the blast hole


More tamping action


Placing a spacer


and another charge


and pushing them into place


Michael getting ready to blow his horn


while Ken loads another blast hole


inserts a spacer


then the next charge


Inserting a bag of stemming behind the spacer


then inserting another charge


and pushing into place with the tamping rod


Inserting a bag of stemming


and with the tamping rod - pushing it into place


while Michael inserts the blow tube (into a blast hold on the other column


and pushing the tube to the end of the blast hole


Meanwhile on the ground - Manny, Stan, Richard and Paul on the phone


Carlos and Michael demonstrating the fetch and tote procedure - with an arm full of spacers


While Mickey and Ken impatiently wait (I can hear Mickey muttering something that is audible in Singapore


Manny-Ex delivery service


and the handoff - please sign here


Carlos takes a coke break


and Michael follows his lead


Then Carlos presses the down button on Manny's elevator


Note as Mickey and Ken work their way down, they tie in the shock tubes to those above


Here is another part of parallel processing - Michael cleaning up after yesterday


with his short reach CAT


A good view of the worksite - with all parallel processes in action


Richard Simmons is running the front end loader - moving stuff Michael finds


Another good view of the parallel processing


Carlos is off doing something else - and Stan joins Michael


A good view of Manny, Mickey, Michael/Stan and Michael Hebb each doing their own part. Hidden is Richard


and a view with the Ravenel Bridge in the background


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Attribution: C. Frank Starmer and Sparky Witte from