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.

August 14, 2005: Lifting girders from the I-26 overpass

The Testa-Cashman guys were at it all night - and when I arrived about 6am the removal of the floor girders on the piers east of the I26 overpass was almost complete. Here is the story of overpass girder removal: lifting compared with the Friday night removal by gentle lowering of the girders.

The procedure consisted of attaching cables to each girder, cutting the bolts that coupled the girder to the caps, lifting the girder, rotating it and then lowering it. I have tried to capture most of the steps in the procedure. I shall fill in the details a bit later

Continuation of removing the girders on the east side of the overpass

After all the east girder were removed - here is the I-26 overpass.

First - clean up the debris from removing the roadway between the overpass girders

Erecting the crane that will be used to life the girders

Moving the lifting cables into position between the edge girder and the one next to it

Lowering the cables between the girders

Looping the cables around the outside girder

Moving the loops into position

Initial lifting of the girder

the lifting the entire girder

rotating the girder and lowering it to the ground

Decoupling the cable loops

Rotating the lift cables back to the next girder

Positioning the left cables

Cutting the attachment between the girder and the pier cap

An initial lift from below

Then lift - slowly slowly

Rotate and lower

Note the protective blankets placed over the I-26 edge barriers

to the final resting place

Decouple the cable loops

And so it start again with lowering the cables between the next pair of girders

Making the loops

Raising the loops and moving them into the lift configuration

and so the process starts again

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

C. Frank Starmer