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 30 2005: Nassau overpass is down and the Hanover overpass is next

The Nassau St. Overpass is no more. Three day's ago, this was the Nassau overpass

This is today - and look at the road surface which was protected by the blankets Cashman/Testa use to protect the surface from falling debris.

So here is the big picture: The Grace exit ramp, Pearman approach, the new Ravenel towers in the background and the intersection of Nassau St. with Lee St.

More battle of the Titans - marching toward East Bay

Work in progress: Removing roadway between the girders and making their way (in reverse) to the Hanover St Overpass.

Water is used to keep the dust down - keeping the neighborhood from experiencing the Mt. St Helens's volcanic ash effect

and more water

I am quite impressed with what I call the cleaning operation. The shear operators take a bite of roadway and then sweep it into the intra-beam space while the water guys keep their water focused on the falling debris

When they finish the intra-beam clean-up, then they start again with the side barriers: here preparing to take a bite

Taking a bite

and releasing the bite. These really are surgeons - calm, precise and accurate.

Another view (from Nassau St.) of the backward movement to Hanover (and eventually East Bay)

Here is the next overpass - at Hanover St. Here, I often walked up the Pearman off-ramp to photograph the progress on Line 14 (the Morrison St on-ramp to the Ravenel Bridge).

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C. Frank Starmer