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.
I did not find Mickey Rogers and Ken Tully and their ABS team. They found me and wanted to know why I had not included them in my photo essays. So last fall, Mickey in desparation, sent a polite email wondering why I focused on the bridges and not on what some of the subcontractors were doing. I had no answer so I found Mickey and my life has not been the same since. Today was special. Professor Rogers (aka Mickey) taught me a bit of how to load dynamite, sequence the shock tubes and enjoy the results. Sparky and Gary joined in and together today was a very special day. First the highlights and then the story.
Professor Mickey Rogers - and his Wednesday seminar.
I got to the worksite about 8 am. There were clouds and a really strong wind from the north. We made our way from the Sea Breeze Marina and passed P-3 where you can see the silhouette of Michael's 1250 and to the left, a silhouette of the Ravenel Bridge.
Here is the D-3 worksite with Michael in the background getting ready to take down P-3, the Drum Island concrete Grace pier.
Today's goal: to remove the D-3 substructure. D-3, itself, took forever and a day to unbuild - so I named it Tenacity of Purpose . Here is a view of T-3 on November 15, 2005 - just before we encountered the meaning of tenacity of purpose.
Here the substructure after the cap and supporting columns were unbuilt. This photo was after the dynamite was loaded and sequenced.
What a pleasant start to find Michael (a quiet reminder of all the people that made these photo essays possible: ichie, Jackie, Leon, Roy, Lewis, Steve, Pio, Neal, Jim, Bob, Ken C., Joe, Nugget, Stan, Sonny, Speedy, Chucky, Scotty, Chris D., Junior, Manny, Chris V. Ponch, Ken T., Pat, Art, Farmer, Rip, Gary, Paul, and perhaps the rest of you will forgive me for a lapse in memory).
Here is Michael's 1250 in the sleeping position - and then in the operating position
I learned a new term: high reach work - and this is a high reach indeed
But Mickey had better ideas - put on my had and Professor Roger's holds a dynamite loading seminar - one junior learner (student): Watch Mickey teach Frank how to load a 45' column with 120 lbs of dynamite (4 Mb mpg) (and break a 50' tape measure). In reality I had two professors - Junior, sitting in front of me was our QC guy - making sure I measured carefully - dropped the dynamite in with the detonator down - all those practical issues that escaped me.
Retrieving the tape (before I broke it)
Loading one of the 24 sticks of dynamite - this one with a detonator
Carefully dropping it into the 45' hole
Then adding some stemming (crushed rock that compacts after the detonation and minimizes the upward shock wave). You can see Felix on the left with a big grin, watching me struggle to do everything correctly. Both Felix and Junior are the experts here and simply assisting Mickey has he humors an old man and provides a moment of excitment.
Some more dynamite from Junior.
Mickey is not quite sure at my skill - so always inspecting.
Me - seeking approval
20 more or less sticks of dynamite later - the final stimming and on to the next hole
Now watch Mickey - a professional - Mickey loading (real time) (8 Mb mpg). Loading for Mickey is ok - but teaching me - hmmm - time for a break
Now totally rested and full of beans - Mickey ties the shock tubes together. Watch Mickey tie in the shock tubes - which sequence the detonation (2.5 Mb mpg)
With the yellow shock tubes - he sets the detonation sequence - Mick calls this the zigzag sequence - a strategy for generating inward motion of the structure as it collapses
The sequenced array of loaded holes
The shock tube array from the side.
Mickey ties in the master shock tube
and his team rolls it out toward the barge
Its time to depart from T-3. Lewis and Richard raise the spuds that anchor our barge
Bye bye T-3
Off to a safe distance
and lowering the spud
and Mickey set up the receiver
However, on our way to the Port - Mickey made a small detour - to add something special to the face of T-3
and Mickey's heart
From Gary's position on the dock - he got another perspective
as we fade away
A small small smile and a bit weepy-eyed
Now the implosion Click for the video
Note the wave formation in front of T-3 - indicating that the sequencing started from the center
As the rest of the explosives detonate, a wall of water forms around T-3
which slows the lateral spread of Frank
The wave structure continues to grow
and begins to form an ourward progaging surface wave
Look to the right and you can see a wave that some surfers might enjoy (with a hard hat of course)
which rapidly propagates toward us - a micro tsunami
which rapidly dissipates
and its mostly over
the smoke begins to drift to the south
and perhaps 30 sec later - a small wave and a bit of smoke is the only reminder of T-3
after it was all over with a small bubbling area in the center that dissipated after a few minutes.
Here is the first 300 msec of development of the implosion. Click for the video
T = 0 - 0.033 sec
T = 0.067 - 0.100 sec
T = 0.133 - 0.167 sec
T = 0.200 - 0.233 sec
T = 0.267 - 0.300 sec
Lewis and Richard
Rick, Karen (from SCDOT who pushed the button) and Mickey
Ken Canty and myself. Ken became a good friend and managed to open many doors for me so that I could get an inside look at the unbuilding process and relate the story as short photo essays. A real friend!
and Joe Duffy - the inside man at the skunk works - more encouragement and insights from Joe than I could have asked for
and Sparky - no words to describe Sparky
Us! - Tres amigos - Sparky, Frank and Gary. With their help and help from others, the unbuilding story will continue! Gary has pulled together some photos from our times together. I have included a few above - what a wonderrful friend. Click and enjoy. I shall miss Gary and Sparky.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer