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.

January 9, 2006 Around the Port of Charleston - the jack-up barge working on the Pearman cantilever support and our trapeze artists removing the Port-side cantilever trusses - one beam at a time

Early morning - and the trip out to D-24.

Toby - always smiling and always helpful - taking us to the D-24 worksite

But passing the jack-up barge - I cannot resist

Looking head on - note the cross-beam. Later, this afternoon it will be absent (see below)

Just so you won't forget - the crossbeam

and someone hammering away at it

Early morning view of the Ravenel Bridge - golden sun

Oops - need to return to the other side of Drum Island - and another look at the cantilever section of the pearman

Just before the D-24 implosion, the jackup barge was lowered:

After D-24 implosion, the jackup barge was back in its elevated position, and removing more of the Pearman cantilever support

Since this morning - the cross-member has been eaten

Another look - with Jim Grier's group in the background (on Drum Island) displaying another clash of the titans

Meanwhile, our iron workers are burning the Pearman cantilever section and lowering it piece by piece

Cutting one of the floor girders

Here are our acrobats after the cross girder was removed

Just sort of chillin'

and a last look at the jackup barge and missing cross-member

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C. Frank Starmer