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.

November 24, 2005:
Thanksgiving holiday and a chance to catch up

Josh (our youngest) came here with his girlfriend and Thanksgiving evening we walked over to the MUSC parking garage roof and looked at the worksite. It was cool and clear and the Ravenel Bridge was lit.

Looking to the left a bit, was a fun photo of the ghost-like western section of the Pearman.

November 25, 2005: The day after Thanksgiving

Since everyone went home for the Thanksgiving holiday, I had a small small window of opportunity to catch up with the work. The major work appears to be removing the Grace roadway as it enters the Cooper River. Pearman roadway removal seems near the end. The Grace and Pearman approaches on the Charleston side are near extinction - i.e. the Stonehenge monument's days are numbered.

Here is a sleeping Cooper River worksite

Many Pearman piers are fully drilled and ready for the next step

Grace no longer traverses Drum Island - here is the end of the road

However, the Coleman recycle center still accumulates roadway, girders, rails and shoulders from the Grace and Pearman bridges. Shown here is the mound of rebar extracted from concrete sections of the bridge.

I just thought this was a fun photo - Cousin Arthur Ravenel in the background looking over the situation while two cats (a 330 grapple and 375 shear) took a Thanksgiving break. The 375 shear's arm nicely framed the Grace and Pearman superstructure.

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C. Frank Starmer