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.

December 13, 2005:
Pulling Grace's girders

This morning, Pio, Richie, Brad and Speedy were harvesting girders. After removing the roadway on the Grace and Pearman bridges, the the longitudinal steel girders are harvested. On the Pearman, I watched this when Cashman/Testa were harvesting roadway and girders by night and by day. On the Grace, I watched Neil's team harvest by night and this morning I watched Pio's team harvest a pair of steel griders by day. I almost missed the action.

First Richie. Richie is one of the many unsung heros and one of Testa's all purpose men. You name it and Richie does it with a smile.

Here Speedy is preparing the last almost cuts of the girders.

Next Brad moved his grapple into position in order to connect the cable to the girders as Richie and Speedy position themselves for a little shackle action.

Richie and Speedy connecting the shackles to the girders

and here Richie is finishing tightening the shackle pin

Then Brad gently lifts the grapple to stabilize the girder-pair

and Speedy completes the cuts of the left girder

and the right girder

then Brad gently lifts the girder pair up as Pio and Richie watch

until the bottom of the girder-pair is above the roadway

up a bit more

then moves his excavator back, pulling the girder-pair along the roadway

then Pio pulls the girder down to the Coleman recycling center

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer