Building the Ravenel Bridge

After all the photos I took, I've tried to arrange them in some order based on various topics I found interesting.

And a reminder from T.S. Eliot (East Coker from the Four Quartets)

Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion

July 9, 2005: Opening the bridge to foot traffic.

It was a rather dark and gloomy day, but in Charleston, the weather is full of surprises and today was not to be an exception.

The west tower (left) is a bit gloomy. Peo, superintendent of the bridge span construction is never gloomy. In reality he is working supervisor in disguise, shown here making last minute adjustments.

Sometimes, though, Peo needs a bit of encouragement - here from Matthew

The rescue squad and our friendly police were waiting ...

Then the first runner from Charleston (David Gibbs) and the first walker (John Laverne) appeared

Then the early runners from Mt. Pleasant appeared

which brought a bit of magic. The sun briefly appeared casting wonderful warm light on the crowd of early morning bridge walkers with a sunlit MUSC in the background

For almost 2 years, my sweetie (Ellen) has made space for my weekend bridge data collection adventures. After this morning's photography, I went home to get her for a walk on our new bridge. I wanted her to see, up close and personal, some of what I saw, experienced and learned while looking over the shoulders of High Steel, PBC and Freyssinet.

In many ways, the photo of her (on the left) reflects the story of these web pages. Bill Mankin (with High Steel Structures) was the first hero of this story. He sent me email about a year ago, encouraging me to continue the photos, particularly of the girder erection process, and invited me to visit their facility in Lancaster Pa (near Rachel and Trevor's home, my daughter and son-in-law). Here on the left, she is measuring the height of one of Bill Mankin's shark fins - which we saw inside High Steel's fab facility in Lancaster Pa. The shark fin edge girders were the glue for these photo-essays of the building of our new Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge.

Following these girders from Lancaster Pa to their final resting place introduced me to much of the bridge construction sequence. Final drilling by High Steel Structures,, installed by PBC, anchoring the stay cable pipes and the stay cables, designed, engineered, installed and tested by Freyssinet, these edge girders turned out to be the back door that provided insights into the bridge building process. This back door was opened by the other heros of these photo-essays, David Wertz (SCDOT), Wade Watson (PBC), Peo Halvarsson (PBC), Marvin Tallent (PBC), Olivier Forget (Freyssinet), Philip and Tina Cotter and Wilbur Poole. You can read about them on the "Stories about Bridge Folks page".

On the right, is Ellen and an arriving container ship, part of the rationale for the new bridge.

And what is a visit to the bridge without the tower in the background. (And ignore the huge gloom cloud hanging around in an expectant manner.) Inspite of the clouds, Bill, Wade, Peo, Marvin, Derek, Brian, David, Wilbur, Philip and Olivier and his crew are all smiling at what they constructed!

Walking back, everyone was looking, enjoying and beaming with pride - our new Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge

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C. Frank Starmer