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 24, 2006: Sparky and unbuilding the great Pearman main span

Here is the main span minus the end segments - and thinking about dividing and conquoring

The worksite

The worksite from another angle

The worksite from the opposite side

and thinking

With a shear for chewing beams

and Steve DeMello and his grapple for loading stuff

Step 2: loading

Step 3: dropping into the truck

Meanwhile, more thinking

Sparky did a study of viewing the main span: End view

An inside view. I remember riding my bicycle under these Xs early on Sunday mornings after taking a series of photos of building the Ravenel main span. From main span to main span

As seen through Captain Gary's port hole

As seen through Captain Gary's door

And Captain Gary, of course

Chris Vocci takes time out for a lub job

My man, Richie - the ace burner, operator, thinker and sculptor - on his way for some serious cutting

Meanwhile - the shear is at work

Chris - taking bites out of a box girder

this is what I call a box bite

and this is a pile of box bites

Steve loading more box bites

and loading box bites

an unusual bite

All this time, the thinking is over and Richie is flying high and burning away

The cut mark - Today is friday so the cut marks are white. On Wednesday, they are Testa-orange

burning through the outer girder

Richie cutting the cable

cutting the edge box girder

Finished cut - see the light through the cut?

Richie from a distance

Next cut

a cross cut

and in parallel, more bites

and more bites

Richie riding the cross beam

and cutting

Pio and Richie - hmmmm - some serious thinking going on here

and a TV crew to capture this moment of thought

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer