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 22, 2005:
Blast preparation and Roadway Removal

Mickey Rogers, the owner of Advanced Blasting Services, LLC. has the subcontract for dropping the concrete bridge supports. This morning, Mickey helped me understand the preparation process for dropping these supports. I had seen his team a month ago when they were preparing for a test blast (D6 column on Drum Island) but this was the first time to get some insights into the process.

Here is an overview of the work site. To the left, Testa is removing roadway segments from the Pearman while on the right, Mickey's team is busy drilling patterned holes in preparation for dropping the support.

Here you can see the ABS team drilling on the right. These 2" holes are 8 feet deep into the columns and have to miss the embedded rebar. Without being able to actually see where the rebar is, the job is a bit tedius as the hole must be moved and redrilled should they encounter rebar before reaching their 8 foot limit. In addition, when they reach the base, and after the initial blast, they will drill 4" holes vertically down (60 feet) into the foundation and then blast the foundation later.

Here is a closer view of the drilling team

Meanwhile, on the left, some more of Mickey's team are removing the scaffolding and preparing to drill this column

Each time I return from the Mt Pleasant side, I always like to check the Colemen Recycling Center. Note the height of the pile of rebar. Nice work.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer