The Bridge Blog A dialog about our new bridge and these web pages
Overview. As a pointy-headed
university professor, my weekend project of bridge photography and
building these web pages generated many questions and introduced me
to just-in-time learning. I enjoy chasing my curiosity and
want to identify ways to encourage younger learners to also enjoy curiosity
chasing and learning.
Learning usually requires repetition while forgetting occurs when
I infrequently use information. Many young learners do not understand
the importance of repetition. Weekly visits to the bridge provided
the repetition necessary to detect changes in the bridge and
many questions and opportunities for learning. Over the course of the
bridge project, I had access to few experts for answering questions.
Rather than a liability, this became an asset and pushed me to improve
my search skills with Google. Soon, I found that answers
to questions encountered during my weekly photo shoots were often
only a Google-search away -
Restoring the Joy in Learning). Consequently Google + Internet became
dependable extensions of my memory.
Yesterday, Vince Streano, David Wertz and I revisited the top of the
west tower. It was almost 1 year ago (July 21, 2004) that David and
I visited the top of the west tower - at that time looking at a number of
bridge engineering issues. Among them was the cabling process managed
by Olivier Forget from Freyssinet
- and the time was near the end of "le Tour de France". During an
earlier visit to the top of the west tower, I noticed a concrete tablet
on the floor (upper left) with the names of many of the construction
workers. Dumb Frank did not record this photographically at the time. This
time I was not going to repeat the same mistake twice. Not only did I take
several photos of the tablet, but I found Philip Cotter's and Lewis
Williamson's names on the tablet. Philip and Lewis are iron workers, a
very special breed of man that suspended themselves while erecting
edge and floor girders and placing the concrete floor panels. Philip's wife,
Tina, exchanged a number of emails with me about Philip and his
artistic and literary skill - naming the last main-span crane (east side)
the "Last Dinosaur Standing" (see
for the dinosaur story).
Here, permanently placed on the top of the west tower is a symbol of the
worker's bride. Many signatures are absent - but the pride runs all the
way from Bobby Clair through Wade, Peo, Marvin, David and Olivier all the
way to me - as these folks opened doors that enabled me to bring to you
much of the untold stories behind building our Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.
And a final note about the Internet and learning. The Internet provided
me a medium that enabled me to share with you what the bridge folks shared
with me. Not only that, the Internet provided a communication medium that
linked me with Bill Mankin at High Steel, with engineers at the Federal
Highway Administration, Bridge Division, with Buckland and Taylor,
T. Y. Lin, HDR, Freyssinet and Tidewater Skanska. Governor Sanford
and Bob O'Brien even provided input. In the end, Bob has suggested
that I explore transfering
this web site to the Historical Society or the Library -
a wonderful strategy for breathing new life into these pages.
So from me - smiles and a big thank you to all of you!
Frank Starmer, Medical University of South Carolina.