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.

January 11, 2006:
Dropping Pearman D-27

I was not pleased with my photographic capture of Monday's D24 implosion. Since repetition is the first law of learning - I tried again with D-27. Today's results were much better. Here is today's story.

Earlier this morning, I visited Bob McCabe work on the Mt Pleasant side and took a few photos of the foundation work for the Mt Pleasant observation pier. Surprise - in these photos was the little Testa tug that could - preparing to move a barge.

and walking up the Grace I took another photo of the Testa boat and barge. And look who was standing in the middle: Ken (left), Bret (middle) and Phillip (right) - on their way to load D-27. I am always surprised when I take a photo like this only to discover at the fact what it really represented.

For me the day stated a bit later. Sharon picked me up at the Sea Breeze about 1:30 - time to get setup for the 3pm event. Here is the before on our way out to the worksite. D-27 is to the right of the middle Ravenel pier and just to the right of the Grace cantilever anchor

Our worksite - with Ken and Bret loading the last of the column

A closer view - with Ken using the rod to tamp the material into place

Here is Bret loading

Here is the fuse array

Here is the before

followed by fuse ignition sequence - extracted from the video frames at 33 msec intervals

T = 0 sec

T = 0.033 sec

T = 0.067 sec

T = 0.100 sec

T = 0.133 sec

T = 0.167 sec

T = 0.200 sec

T = 0.233 sec

T = 0.267 sec

T = 0.300 sec

T = 0.333 sec Base detonates

T = 0.367 sec

T = 0.400 sec

T = 0.433 sec

T = 0.467 sec

T = 0.500 sec

T = 0.533 sec

T = 0.567 sec

T = 0.600 sec

T = 0.633 sec

From the high resolution images - ignition is evident near the base of the right column

Detonation at the base

and the cap

lots of smoke and fury

and down the pieces fall

with the wind blowing the smoke to the north

Most of the smoke has cleared and sure enough - no more D-27

Just a small pile of fragments on the base with D-28 and C-1 in the background

Here is the after

and our smiling team: Bret, Ken and Phillip (Mickey is still recovering from his appendix episode

another view of the after

Looking over Sharon's shoulder

and another after - only D-23 and D-28 remain

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer