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:
Planting explosive charges on Grace's truss

Today the Demolition Dynamics acrobats were planting charges for tomorrow's blast. Here is the Grace worksite - barge, Chris and his crane and the iron worker acrobats

Another view of the worksite

And doing the fetching and toting is Chris

and his crane

and looking up the boom at the Chris-o-vator - lifting the team and material into place.

and the cab of the Chris-o-vator

Getting to the job

It all starts with a cut into the girder. The explosives will be placed and wrapped with a sheet of kevlar and then - wrapped with sections of a conveyor belt. Conveyor belts have both a rubber surface as well as embedded steel mesh and this will help contain the lateral movement of debris.

Preparing the charge

then wrapping it with a sheet of kevlar

terminating the kevlar's waving-like-a-flag

and finishing the wrapping

Here is shown the wrapped bundle with the conveyor belt shield

The charge with the shield in place

Charge planting finished

A stack of conveyor belt segments ready for use

Several of the charges

Planting charges

A planted charge - note the fuse lines above

Tieing a charge into the fusing lines

another view of the fuse line

David and Oscar and ??? - in the Chris-o-vator

Tieing in the charges

Another charge

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer