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 21, 2006: Gone is the Mt. Pleasant Pearman ramp

And soon the beginning of the Mt. Pleasant observation and fishing pier. There is a nice loop off the Ravenel bicycle lane that will eventually take you to the observation and fishing pier. Sparky, as luck would have it, saw me riding down the bicycle path, talking with my daughter Rachel - I know - don't bike and talk at the same time.

Here is a view of the underside of the Ravenel bridge.

The Pearman worksite

The end of the beginning of the Pearman ramp

and the foundation of the observation / fishing pier

and as seen from the southern side

with the jackup barge in the background.

I just thought this was a fun view of the Pearman and Grace Cooper River spans

The Pearman main span, C4 and C3 supports and the jack-up barge in its sleeping configuration.

Mickey's ABS team is preparing to drill C-3 in preparation of another implosion. With your curious eyes, you can see the red marks across the length of the pier cap. My guess is that some serious drilling will start on Monday.

Walking back down the Grace Bridge, there is a pretty good view of the foundation work for the observation / fishing pier and the absent missing initial span of the Pearman Ramp. What are Bob McCabe, Jackie and Scotty going to do next?

Here is a closer view of the missing last span.

Ken Canty has some drawings of the observation pier and Tim Linder had the bright idea of my posting some of the drawings in order to provide a better context for work on the Mt. Pleasant side. Here is a schematic of the side and top views of one section of the Mt Pleasant pier. The overall length will be almost 1/4 mile (1245 ft and 9 inches) and its width will be 30 ft. Just like the old Grace Bridge, there will be a few wider areas that are 44 ft wide and span the distance between two piers. There is even a pavilion proposed for the span between M12 and M13 that will be 87 ft long. Nice place for a picnic when its raining.

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C. Frank Starmer