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.

May 16, 2006:
Last Grace superstructure blast and a show

Kim Wood and Gary Eaton came to the rescue. Sparky is working on the Katrina rebuilding in Mississippi but listened by mobile phone, y'all know where I am - half a world away but Kim was on the barge and captured the action from the Cooper river while Gary was on the spot - near the Motley Rice building.

It is interesting trying to infer the program from still photos. Since both Kim and Gary caught the air action, my guess is that there was an air show just before the button was pushed - reminding me of the C-17 overflight after the Ravenel opening and adding a bit of homesickness to me. But I'm coming home Friday for a couple of weeks and looking forward to seeing my family and my bridge friends.

Meet Kim Wood, the lastest addition of our unbuilding photo group

Driving across the Ravenel. It is impressive to me that the earth has rotated so that the morning sun is now on the north side of the Ravenel bridge (8:48 am).

At 8:57 - the Ravenel, C-1 and C-2 Pearman piers, the soon-to-disappear west Grace cantilever, C-3 and a topless C-4 Pearman pier.

Before - at 9:47 and the C-17 and F-15 flyby. It is wonderful to realize that folks are still viewing our web page. When I make an error - in this case, not seeing the difference between an F-15 and F-18 - several people sent me the correction. Mike Crawford also explained that The F-15's are in town doing maneuvers with jets from Beaufort, Shaw (Sumter) and McEntire (Columbia)

Kim's view of the flyover

A close view with the C-17 (and F-15) flyby at 9:38

Kim'v view of the flyover - and (I think) one of the Demolition Dynamics guys enjoying the show

Bill Galloway, our friendly Fire Marshall from Columbia catching the video

Before: 9:55:32

Oscar on the left, some of the Demolition Dynamics team - David on the right

Kim's view from the river - just after detonation

and a Graceful drop into the Cooper River

Here is Gary's sequence - @ 9:55:33



9:55:34.67 - Note the fire around the floor edge girders

9:55:35.00 - continued ignition


9:55:35.67 - SPLASH







9:58:16 - this will keep Michael, Jackie and the divers off the streets for a few days.

and a very pleased Oscar

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C. Frank Starmer