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.

October 1, 2005:
Finishing the Pearman Truss

This morning the weather was strange - rain in Mt Pleasant but very pleasant fog around to tops of the Ravenel towers.

Yesterday morning there was just a short segment of roadway to remove on the truss side of the bridge. Last night around 9pm it was finished and here is the proof - one side of the expansion joint.

This morning - the work has progressed to the approach side of the structure - here cutting the edge barriers and breaking away the near side of the expansion joint

Here is Michael at work - whacking away on the south side

and now waiting for Richie to cut some rebar

All the while Pio is smiling and Richie is starting his part of the story

which is cutting some of the rebar between the expansion joint and roadway

What a difference 18 months makes. Compare these photos from May 9, 2004 (6:50 am, left) and today (Oct 1, 2005 8:36 am right).

Walking back down - the Ravenel towers were still playing with the clouds and suddenly Ponch appears

As with Pio - Ponch continuously multiprocesses - talking with Steve on the phone and then getting ready to move the steel griders.

And here is Ponch in action

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C. Frank Starmer