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.

April 11, 2006:Oscar and Demolition Dynamics

This is a story about how the Internet builds these web pages and new friends. Oscar and his Demolition Dynamics co-workers have been busy planting explosives on the truss structures. Oscar took some photos with a disposable camera - had the photos developed and scanned. I just received them from Oscar as they left for work this morning. These photos show another view of the life on the high wire that few of us ever get to see.

Here is Oscar's version of what they were doing:

This was the last piece of the bridge that we shot.  
I'm sending them now because it does show the process of loading the 
explosives.  The detonation lines,  drop lines, and pig tails coming together.
The orange detonation lines that you see us crawling around are actually 
explosives.  Upon detonation they explode 22,000 feet per second!  The yellow 
pigtails are quicker and the white blasting cap that's connected to the 
explosive explodes 80,000 feet per sec.  Put it all together and it's like 
listening to Jazz. 
This looks like an early morning review of the plans for the day

The team and Manny's elevator (on the barge)

The DD team setting the explosives and detonation lines

Setting the detonation (orange) lines. When triggered there is a shock wave that propagates at 22,000 ft/sec. Note the kevlar wrapped charge above Oscar's head

Linking the detonation lines with the pigtails connected to the blasting caps

Here you can see the detonation line about knee high - running parallel to the box girder they are walking on

and chilin' a bit on the barge

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer