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.

September 21, 2005: Coleman Blvd Recycle Center

This, for me, is as interesting as watching Testa unpour the concrete roadway. Much of the road is made of reinforced concrete including the side barriers and the roadway. Coleman Blvd has become sort of a recyling center where the concrete is separated from the rebar and the rebar is cut into smaller pieces. Here is one view of the what I call the recycling center.

And here you can see a stack of roadway segments, side barriers and who know what else.

Looking along Coleman Blvd is the loading and unloading area

Jack Foley runs this 365 shear and here is cutting the rebar into short segments.

Here - are Jack's jaws in action - taking a bite (left) and biting (right). The result is short pieces of rebar that can be easily reprocessed

Click to watch Jack at work (10 Mb quicktime video). He is picking up a tangle of long rebar pieces and cutting them into smaller pieces and placing them in a pile of short rebar pieces.

And check out the housekeeping. From the concrete roadway segments, Jack has built a concrete floor as a work surface. With Freyssinet cables shining in the background on the new Ravenel Bridge - it makes a great place to work.

and here are the players in our recycling team - Jack (left) and Michael (inside right) and Richie (outside right) who does the burning, fetching and toting from the bridge worksite (accepting what Michael gives him) to the recycling center where he contributes to Jack's pile of stuff.

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C. Frank Starmer