Changing the face of Charleston:
Building of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
Frank's Home Page
Karpeles Museum display's my story of Building the Ravenel Bridge:
Oct 17, 2007 - ? (Permanent Exhibit)
Archive of building stories
Exploring digital sketches
Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges
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Highlights
As seen from the Aquarium
East Bay on ramp
The Last Shark Fin
Closing the main span gap
Paving the bridge
The last stay cable
Opening Events
Engineering Challenges
Stories of Bridge Folks
Erecting Steel
Building Bridge Blog


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Unbuilding the Grace and Pearman Bridges

August 30, 2002
In retrospect, my curiosity of cable stay bridges started in Patras Greece

August 23, 2003
First photos from the SC Aquarium

October 12, 2003
The west and east pylons are rapidly growing

October 19, 2003
Cargo ships passing under the virtual Ravenel Bridge

October 26, 2003
Continued development of the pylons

November 02, 2003
Concrete mixing machines at the pylon worksite

November 09, 2003
Work on the east and west approach pylons

November 16, 2003
The east pylon is catching up with the west pylon

November 23, 2003
Structural steel moved into place near the west pylon

November 30, 2003
Forms in place on the tops of the east approach piers

December 07, 2003
East approach pier capped

December 14, 2003
Main span platform started

January 01, 2004
Overview and links: Cable Stay Bridges

January 13, 2004
Erecting the east platform

January 18, 2004
A closer look at the east and west main span decks

January 25, 2004
Shark fin edge girders in place on the west platform

January 31, 2004
Shark fin edge girders in place on the east platform

February 15, 2004
Deck crane erectedon the west platform

February 22, 2004
Two deck cranes on the west platform

February 28, 2004
West pylon top nearing completion

March 07, 2004
First stay cable pulled

March 14, 2004
Freyssinet at work - West stay cables assembled

March 21, 2004
A dolphin and a different view of the bridge

April 18, 2004
Reflections of our bridge and east stay cables pulled

April 26, 2004
East approach floor griders extended to the next pier

May 02, 2004
Second set of stay cables on the west platform

May 09, 2004
Without words - reflections

May 09, 2004
My first bicycle adventure to get a closer look

May 15, 2004
Adding shark-fin edge girders

May 17, 2004
Second stay cables on the east platform

May 22, 2004
3rd stay cable assembled

May 23, 2004
Lateral tendons and the elevator

May 30, 2004
4th shark fin girders added to the west platform

June 06, 2004
Lateral tendons

June 07, 2004
4th stay cable assembled

June 22, 2004
Fifth stay cables assembled on the west platform

June 27, 2004
Erecting floor girders between the west approach pylons

June 27, 2004
West approach and ramp

June 27, 2004
Progress as seen from my bicycle

July 04, 2004
Adding the next set of shark fin girder to the west back span

July 04, 2004
Pier construction on the west and approaches

July 04, 2004
Counterweights as the mainspan grows

July 08, 2004
Hurricane cables

July 11, 2004
Extending shark fin girders to the east back span

July 11, 2004
Adding floor girders

July 17, 2004
6th stay cable assembled

July 17, 2004
Finishing the approach piers

July 21, 2004
David Wertz, my engineeing professor at SCDOT

July 21, 2004
Freyssinet: Building a stay cable

July 31, 2004
Closing the gaps between the approaches and back spans

July 31, 2004
Pier construction on the west and approaches

August 01, 2004
Mt. Pleasant's finest: running interference during my weekly bicycle rides on the Pearman

August 01, 2004
Hurricane cables and a possible test

August 07, 2004
7th stay cable assembled

August 07, 2004
Finishing the east and west approach piers

August 08, 2004
Building the 7th set of stay cables

August 14, 2004
Eighth cable assembled on the west deck

August 14, 2004
Work on the east and west approach piers

August 21, 2004
8th stay cable assembled

August 21, 2004
New cables on the east and west back spans

August 22, 2004
Building the 8th set of stay cables

August 29, 2004
Closing the gaps between the back spans and the approaches

August 29, 2004
Finishing the east approach pier

August 29, 2004
Dreding the channel

September 01, 2004
9th stay cable assembled

September 01, 2004
Spanning the last two approach piers (west)

September 01, 2004
Placing the final triple shark fin girder

September 05, 2004
A bridge near Manzanillo Mexico

September 12, 2004
Adding the 2nd set of hurricane cables

September 12, 2004
Closing the west gap

September 12, 2004
Stay cables and Hurricane anchors

September 19, 2004
Completion of the west approach with a 3 finned shark girder

September 19, 2004
Erecting the approach girders

September 19, 2004
East and West approach piers

September 24, 2004
More finish work on the approach piers and girders

September 25, 2004
Another hurricane coming and the 10th stay cables complete

September 25, 2004
Capping piers and extending the main span

September 26, 2004
10th stay cable assembled

October 03, 2004
11th cable installed on the west platform

October 03, 2004

October 03, 2004
Capping the east pier

October 09, 2004

October 09, 2004
Two edge girder to go - linking the back span with the west approach

October 15, 2004

October 15, 2004
11th stay cable assembled

October 17, 2004

October 17, 2004
12th shark fin girder added on the approach side of the west back span

October 17, 2004
Adding the triple fin girder on the east back span

October 22, 2004

October 22, 2004
12th stay cable assembled

October 29, 2004
A visit to High Steel, Lancaster Pa.

October 31, 2004

October 31, 2004
The squeeze is on - one edge girder to link the west approach and back span

November 01, 2004
Closing the gap between the west backspan and west approach

November 01, 2004
13th stay cable assembled

November 06, 2004
A shark fin splice between the west approach and west back span

November 07, 2004

November 14, 2004

November 14, 2004
Cargo passing under the main span gap

November 14, 2004
X marks the spot

November 21, 2004

November 21, 2004
13th cable on the west main span

November 28, 2004

November 28, 2004
Shark fin girders in waiting

December 01, 2004

December 01, 2004
Running with Christopher

December 02, 2004

December 02, 2004
Closing the gap

December 05, 2004

December 05, 2004
15th stay cable assembled

December 12, 2004

December 12, 2004
The west approach expansion gap

December 12, 2004
Joining the east approach to the east backspan

December 12, 2004
Morning sun

December 12, 2004
Closing the gap

December 16, 2004
Night work on the main span

December 18, 2004

December 18, 2004
13th cable assembled on the east span

December 18, 2004
Closing the gap

December 19, 2004
God's early monring sun kisses our new bridge

December 23, 2004

December 23, 2004
Dark and gloomy - but the channel gap is decreasing

January 02, 2005

January 02, 2005
Adding another pair of shark fin girders to the east main span

January 02, 2005
Closing the gap

January 08, 2005

January 08, 2005
Last shark fin girder extends the west main span

January 08, 2005
My first views of line 14 (East Bay on ramp)

January 08, 2005
Closing the gap

January 15, 2005

January 15, 2005
Last stay cable assembled on the west main span

January 15, 2005
Extending the edge girders

January 16, 2005

January 16, 2005
16th stay cable assembled (west)

January 16, 2005
Preparing the pier cap and pouring concrete at the East Bay entrance

January 19, 2005
Adding center girders

January 19, 2005
Closing the gap

January 20, 2005
Girders on the move - by truck that is

January 22, 2005

January 22, 2005
12th cable assembly on the east main span

January 22, 2005
Cross bracing and a view from above

January 22, 2005
Closing the gap

January 23, 2005
One more edge girder to go!

January 25, 2005
Two spans to go

January 26, 2005
High Steel: Drilling and reaming the last splice plate

January 28, 2005
Preparing the next set of girders

January 28, 2005
Marvin Tallent - cyclist and professor of bridgeology

January 30, 2005
Last shark fin girder extends the west main span

January 30, 2005
Last shark fin edge girder

February 01, 2005
Olivier Forget - Freyssinet's ace problem solver

February 04, 2005
Sandblasting the towers

February 04, 2005
No gap between Line 14 and the Ravenel approach

February 05, 2005
Sand blasting the pylons and erecting the stay pipe on the east platform

February 05, 2005
Kissing cranes at the Ravenel junction

February 05, 2005
Closing the gap

February 06, 2005
Last edge girder placed

February 11, 2005
Freyssinet: Pulling the last cable strands

February 12, 2005
16th stay cable assembled (east)

February 12, 2005
Bidwell at work near East Bay - making roadway

February 12, 2005
Closing the gap

February 13, 2005
Last edge girder gap

February 19, 2005
Closing the main span gap

February 19, 2005
Marvin and Lori: Bridge workers will do anything to be first to cross the gap

February 19, 2005
Closing the main span gap

February 20, 2005
Splicing the east and west main spans

February 20, 2005
Happy workers and placing the underside forms

February 20, 2005
Transition from feet to inches (gap)

February 23, 2005
The last gap - North and South sides

February 23, 2005
Phillip and the Last Dinosaur Standing

February 27, 2005
Dark, gloomy - nothing specific to note (at least by me)

February 27, 2005
Grace crossbraces removed

February 27, 2005
Only inches to close

March 05, 2005
Hydraulic jacks and moving the bridge

March 05, 2005
Building the bicycle/jogging path forms

March 05, 2005
A visit to the bridge with my dad

March 06, 2005
A bicycle path for Marvin and Laurie

March 06, 2005
A gap of inches - time for a little hydaulic jacking action

March 06, 2005
Early morning work on the traveler

March 08, 2005
Installing the splice plate

March 08, 2005
Freyssinet injecting cables

March 08, 2005
Installing the last splice plate

March 08, 2005
Installing the last splice plate

March 10, 2005
Placing the floor panels

March 10, 2005
Unbuilding the west tower crane

March 10, 2005
Installing floor panels

March 10, 2005
Peo Halvarsson: Main Span Superintendent

March 11, 2005
The last floor panel

March 11, 2005
The last floor panel

March 12, 2005
Filling the gaps with concrete

March 12, 2005
Pouring the last concrete

March 13, 2005
The west tower crane is growing down

March 13, 2005
The Bidwell paving machine - at work

March 19, 2005
Half the west tower crane

March 19, 2005
Main span curvature

March 19, 2005
Paving continues - and a view from the Pearman

March 22, 2005
Freyssinet: Injecting cable housings

March 26, 2005
Gone is the west tower crane

March 26, 2005
Building the span under the Grace truss

March 29, 2005
Freyssinet: Seating and sealing internal cable assemblies

April 02, 2005
A continuous main span - now for the finish work

April 02, 2005
Building the expansion joint at the Ravenel junction

April 06, 2005
Meet the Bidwell Paving Machine

April 08, 2005
The east tower crane is growing down

April 08, 2005
Ungrowing the east tower crane

April 09, 2005
The east tower crane continues to grow down

April 11, 2005
Starting the south lanes

April 11, 2005
Building the expansion joint

April 12, 2005
Ungrowing the east tower crane

April 14, 2005
East tower crane is resting on the rock island barge

April 15, 2005
No tower cranes, no barges, just our new bridge

April 16, 2005
The bicycle detour around the Grace supports

April 23, 2005
Building the anchor boxes

April 23, 2005
A view from the Sea Breeze Marina

April 23, 2005
The curvature of the main and back spans

April 23, 2005
Paving the south lanes

April 23, 2005
Phillip and Dinosaurs

April 23, 2005
Bicycle and jogging lane virtually complete

April 30, 2005
The anchor assemblies

April 30, 2005
The traveler and me

April 30, 2005
Continued paving of the inside lanes

April 30, 2005
The traveler - a ride under the bridge

April 30, 2005
The last pour at the expansion joint

April 30, 2005
All purpose Wilbur

May 07, 2005
The external dampers

May 07, 2005
Making digital sketches from photos

May 07, 2005
Paving

May 08, 2005
Building the entrance ramp from East Bay and the expansion joint

May 14, 2005
Adding the bicycle guard rail

May 14, 2005
Work on the external dampers

May 14, 2005
Paving

May 14, 2005
Painting and the expansion joint

May 14, 2005
The multitalented Wilbur

May 16, 2005
Wind dynamics over the diamond towers

May 20, 2005
Completion of the external dampers

May 20, 2005
Surveying the finish work - paving, guard rails and center barrier

May 20, 2005
More about Wilbur

May 21, 2005
New roadway poured last night

May 21, 2005
More of Wilbur's talents

May 22, 2005
Make a Panorama

May 22, 2005
Cleco: Night paving - oops - too windy

May 22, 2005
A view from the top

May 22, 2005
A panorama from the top

May 22, 2005
The man - Wade Watson

May 25, 2005
Cleco: The last night for pouring concrete

May 27, 2005
Paving is complete

May 27, 2005
Painting the lane boundaries

June 02, 2005
The elegance of symmetry

June 04, 2005
Cargo passing under the completed main span

June 04, 2005
Pouring the bicycle / jogging East Bay entrance

June 07, 2005
A little bit of bridge art

June 10, 2005
Final painting of the anchors

June 11, 2005
From the Imax Theater

June 11, 2005
Views of the Ravenel Bridge

June 11, 2005
Passing cargo ships and a view of our bridge

June 11, 2005
East Bay on-ramp completed

June 19, 2005
As seen from the Imax Theater

June 26, 2005
Visiting our daughter in Easton Pa

July 09, 2005
The Ravenel Bridge open to foot traffic

July 12, 2005
Views of a clean bridge (A gift from Wade Watson)

July 12, 2005
Look at what PBC made

July 13, 2005
Preparations for Fireworks

July 14, 2005
Opening ceremony fireworks

July 15, 2005
Opening Dinner

July 15, 2005
What is a signature bridge

July 16, 2005
The evening of the first day - and there was a sunset

July 16, 2005
Reflections of the opening ceremony

July 17, 2005
The first day of official traffic on our new bridge

July 17, 2005
First day of traffic

July 23, 2005
Maxwell in Paris

July 24, 2005
Le Tour de France

July 30, 2005
The week after in Paris

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Attribution: C. Frank Starmer from http://ravenelbridge.net

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