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 28, 2005: Drum Island and the Pearman Prep Work

Sparky got out this weekend to explore progress around Drum Island. As many of you know, there are plans to drop one of the Pearman concrete piers sometime this week. Combining a few my earlier photos with Sparky's provide a context for this complex process. Advanced Blasting Service has been busy drilling piers in preparation for dropping them with explosive charges - shown here (from October 22) and after D25 was prepared.

Earlier photos (Nov 7) of work around D25 and D26 provide some context for events leading up to this week's event. Here is D25 on Nov 7 when Cashman/Testa was picking the girders between D25 and D26. You can see the vertical array of holes Mickey's team drilled several weeks before on the left side of the nearer pier.

Here is an example of preparing the piers for demolition - drilling the holes - this example is from C-6 (pier 6 in the Cooper River on Oct. 22).

Here is a view of the Pearman skeleton (D25) on Nov 16 after girder harvesting.

But Sparky's photos from Sunday tell a better story. Here is a view of the Pearman skeleton - a pair of piers ready for a bit of girder harvesting, D25 in the middle and then another group of piers ready for girder harvesting

Here, you can see holes drilled into the piers by Mickey Rogers' Advanced Blasting team.

Another view of D25 and D26 that have been preped by Mickey's team

Here, you can see that D26 and D28 have been preped

And a view of D26 and the Grace

Drum Island is mostly clear of bridge bones. Cousin Arthur is watching from the left while a carge ship passes below

and another view of an almost Pearman-less and Grace-less Drum Island

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C. Frank Starmer