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.
I managed to stitch Jim's felling of the Grace into a video that shows the action of Jim's A team of Drum Island misfits
After getting off the boat, the first face is Jackie - getting ready to connect a shear to his excavator
and his view of the last-last Grace section
Here is the worksite that Jimmy made. The last roadway segment is resting on the right end of the approach
A closer view of the last roadway to unpour.
And Leon, of course
and the rest of the team: Michael, Adam, Richie and Jimmy tighening the cable couplings that will be used to fell this section of the Grace.
For this occasion, as a pre-celebration of success, Jim shaved
and Richie was busy with the final cuts
and the context
This is my joke - these two guys can not be distinguished unless Jackie is wearing reflective sunglasses. My confusion from last August
And Michael cleaning his windshield.
Then the real last cut. This idea is to cut the base girders such that a small tug by Leon will pull the structure down. Above Richie you can see where the pull cable is connected.
This is Michael explaining to Richie how he would have done it
and Leon starts to pull. Click for a video of Jim and the A team's tug-of-war with Grace
1: You can see that the orange team is also pulling for success
2: the 2nd leg from the right breaks
3: the right side begins its fall
4: and continues while the left side starts its fall.
5: more falling
6: and falling
7: and falling
8: and falling
9: the nearer segment is down
10: as the far segment finishes its fall
11: touchdown for the end
12: almost over
13: and Jim's success: all is down
While walking on the bottom of the last Grace road segment, Jim is thanking his team for his first success with felling a bridge segment
The B team (Frank is no substitute for Leon)
the A team - (from left to right) Leon, Adam, Richie, Michael and a smiling Jim
Putting things in perspective, the new Ravenel Bridge and a now Graceless Drum Island
Testa's monument to tenacity of purpose
A view of the Graceless Drum Island
And no story is complete without thanking Sharon for ferrying me back and forth and taking good care of the A team
And a surprise - Tina just arrived after driving from Boston for 20 hours with their 3 kids - without going ballistic. Something I could not do.
A very happy Hebb family after a very successful team effort by Jim and his guys
and from Richie to his friends back in Boston
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
C. Frank Starmer