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.

October 16, 2005:
Recovering and Disassembling a Pearman Segment (Chewing)

I missed the dropping of the Pearman truss and found the recovery process more to my speed of adaptation. To capture some of the dynamics, I made a composite video from photos demonstrating the overall retrieval process (12 Mb mpeg video). Shown here is an overview as seen from the Sea Breeze Marina - where you can see both Pearman supports and the gap where the truss used to live.

the east cantilevered segment

and the west cantilevered segment

What remains is mostly scrap pieces - shears doing their thing

These next photos show raising one of the last segments (barely visible here)

Using the shear to assist the lifting process

and raising




and resting on the barge

Now the shear takes over and startes removing segments - start

and finish

Then on my side (west) - start

and finish

then laying the skeleton down into the eating position

where the shear chews away

and chews until the plate is clean

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer