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 29, 2006: Retrieving Grace from the Cooper River

Sparky was out today catching the action at both the blast site and at the Navy yard. I put together a video from his still shots just to illustrate the retrieval trio for Crane (Richard), Shear (Jackie) and Grapple (Michael)

The worksite

Now for some serious fishing - attaching the cables - to retrieve this piece. Here, Speedy is on top while Scotty and ? are providing some assistance.

and Michael's grapple supporting the fishing line that Speedy is working with. I would call this 50 ton test line. Scotty and ? are adjusting the cables to catch the big one.

Michael taking a bite while Richard stabilizes the section

and a bit of lifting action from Richard and Michael

Now Michael retreats, but with his jaws in the open configuration. Now that Michael is finished, watch Richard lift this section from the Cooper River (2 Mb mpg video)

and more lift

and more lifting

Now with the Grace section resting on the barge,

it is time for some initial surgical removal of key sections. Here are some demonstrations of Jackie's surgical skills involved in dissassembly of the Grace truss (all done while Michael stabilizes the setion with his shiney new grapple).


Jackie demonstrates the biting procedure

Then the pull procedure

Another bite

A push

Another bite

Another bite

Now it is time to rotate the truss section into the proper surgical position for high speed disassembly. Watch Michael rotate this section of Grace with his grapple

The formation (Duet for Jackie and Michael)

The Jackie and Michael duet - in their high speed disassembly positions. This high speed disassembly is a bit frustrating to Richie, back in the Navy yard. He can't seem to get ahead of the arrival of new material. But then there is only one Richie while the dynamic duo of Jackie and Michael are maybe more than 2.

On the way back - a check on the status of P-3. Who is doing the finish work on P-3?

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer