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.

August 15, 2005: Removing the Meeting Street Overpass

Sparky Witte has joined our team and here he is tracking the Meeting Street Overpass demolition. Gary Eaton took this photo and we met during the Ravenel Bridge construction. Gary caught Sparky - and here is the result. I like it!  






Here is an initial view of the Meeting St. overpass (left) and a shear at work with a jet of water to reduce the dust (right).

A good view of the shear, eating away at the edge girder (left) and more shearing and water action (right)

Here a grappble grabs the residual girder. Note the rubber tire blanket in the left foreground to protect the Meeting St. roadway (left) and continued shearing and using the grapple to stabilize (my speculation) the residual girder - and of course, more water for dust management (right)

Now its about 8:30 pm, more shearing of the overpass girders

Gone is the central section of the Meeting St. overpass and continued biting off segments of the far girder (left). Again, note the rubber tire blankets protecting the Meeting St. roadway (right).

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C. Frank Starmer