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 29, 2005: Test blast on Drum Island
Sparky and Mickey Rogers came to the rescue while I was at NIH

Here is the before image. Look carefully at the support with the vertical column of holes - that contains the explosive charge

Better shown here

and from a different vantage point (before)

The blast (from Mickey who works for Advanced Blasting Services). Note that the blast started at the bottom of the columns and was timed to work its way up the column. Click for a video (Windows Media Video format) or Click for a video (1 Mb mpg)

and from Sparky

The smoke

more smoke

more smoke

and as the smoke settles -

and now - just another cloud

After the blast - just pieces

Another view - and my assessment is that the blasting guys represent another surgical specialty within the Cashman/Testa team.

And of course - cleanup at the bottom

and cleanup at the top

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer