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 22, 2006: Mickey's largest blast to date: C-3

This is a big day - Mickey's largest blast (mine on March 22 held the record until today).

The C-3 setup - preparing to remove the access ramp.

Mickey and Ken: final prep - tieing in the shock tubes

This is a very interesting photo. Note the coils of shock tubes on the side of C-3. This is one of the pier bases that was drilled both from the top surface as well as a rectangle of holes into the water and penetrating the skirt at the base of the pier. Earlier you saw the preparation for the collar during my June 5 visit and then a couple of days later - drilling and loading. Here is another wrapped around C-2 with the John Henrys standing guard.

Mickey and Ken - a final high 5

Mickey getting ready to remove the ramp. Look at the shock tube array in the background. Lots of drilling and lots of loading


Sparky's high res view of the blast: before

Single frame ignition sequence:

Time = 0.000           Note the shock tube fire on the left corner: Time = 0.033

Ignition spreading to the left Time = 0.067           Time = 0.100 and the right corner triggered

Ignition spreading toward the center Time = 0.133           Time = 0.167 Ignition spreads from the ends toward the center

Continued spread toward the center Time = 0.200           Time = 0.233 - surface ignition complete

Time = 0.267           Time = 0.300

Time = 0.333           Time = 0.367

Initial detonation on the left Time = 0.400           Time = 0.433 Initial detonation on the right


Detonation extends toward the center Time = 0.467           Time = 0.500 Continued development toward the center

Detonation almost complete Time = 0.533           Time = 0.567 Detonation complete

Water shock wave projects upward Time = 0.600           Time = 0.633 extending from left to right

Time = 0.667           Time = 0.700

Time = 0.733           Time = 0.767









The end

Our team - after the show

and the after worksite - no C-3

12:10 - time for lunch and a trip back to the port

The 995 - waiting patiently to continue to clean the river bottom

And the 995's scooper

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

C. Frank Starmer