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.

February 21, 2006: Sparky and the lowering of the Pearman main span

I shall pull together more after the lowering tomorrow, but earlier today -

The worksite, looking east toward Mt. Pleasant. The Grace Bridge to the left with the beginning structures to hold the Mammoet beams, the Pearman in the middle - ready to go and floor girders of our new Ravenel Bridge to the right.

A year ago, I was riding my bicycle over the Pearman Bridge - early early on Sunday mornings to capture the closing of the main span gap. Almost to the day (actually Feb 23, 2005) - I was learning from the Ravenel Bridge ironworkers (Philip Cotter) about the Last Dinosaur Standing. Here the mainspan has been completed and the iron workers are unbuilding the last crane used to lift and place floor girders and concrete floor panels.

A good view of the Pearman main span with both hydraulic jacking units. The hoist cables are held by a tag line - but it appears as if Grace were holding the east lowering cables

The west hydraulic jack assembly. Again, the 2-D illusion - as if Grace were holding the lowering cables.

Starting the day - connecting a tie down cable to the safety harness.

More preparations - here, cutting the beam that links the lower and upper pins connecting the cantilever and main span trusses

And cutting more of the truss structure near the lower Mammoet beam

Looking up at the cable array for lowering the Pearman main span

and what a way to end the day

with Sparky

I am behind and here is Sparky's sunset from today - more later

My thanks, big time, to Sparky, for catching the past 2 days. Tomorrow we shall do our best to capture the dynamics of lowering the Pearman main span. Stay tuned.

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C. Frank Starmer