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.

February 17, 2006: Up, up and away with Sparky and Mammoet

Sparky was everywhere today - out with the new platform builders at both the Grace and Pearman main spans as well as back at the port with the Mammoet guys

Here is a quiet and reflective view of the Grace and Pearman main span work site. On the left, you can see where Mickey's team has drilled the C-4 Pearman pier for implosion at a later date - and on the right is the Gracee cantilever and main span sections.

A closer view. Note the jackup barge is in the sleeping position.

Later, the jackup barge was on its way up

The crane elevator has positioned our iron men and they are starting to

build platforms on top of both the Grace and Pearman bridges just before the pins that connect the cantilever sections with the main span.

The jackup barge provides a work surface to approach the underside of the Grace main span

and here are the guys doing something

Now the jack up barge is in its operating position

Here is the east set of poing that join the east cantilever section (from the Mt. Pleasant side) with the Cooper River main span. A wooden platform is on the old roadway frame while our iron-worker acrobats are working on the top

The jackup barge working platform, position under the pins that link the Cooper River main span with the Charleston cantilever section

A good view of both the Pearman and Grace work sites - under the west pins.

Here is Youngblood - clearly enjoying his perch on the 4/100 Grace superstructure.

Youngblood in the foreground and Charles Spires in the background

Youngblood checking the level of the top girders of the Grace - after 80 years. He and Charles are cutting steel to obtain a level surface that will support the Mammoet beam (with hydraulic lift and umbrella assemblies).

and its almost level.

Youngblood in close to Sparky and Charles in the background, preparing for to cut some steel to make a level surface.

Charles doing a bit of burning

From Sparky's high vantage point - a good view of the worker in the man carriers operating from the top of the jackup barge

The pin joining the east cantilever and main span

Looking down at the roadway work platform at the cantilever pin

At the same time, another group of acrobats is working on the Pearman platforms. Looking at the Pearman east pin and cross beam where the Mammoet hydraulic jacks will rest

A wider view of the east Pearman pin - looking south

A good view of the west Pearman work area around the west pin. Here, Mammoet will position their hydraulic jack and cable assemblies and then next Wednesday, lower the Pearman main span.

A closer look at the Pearman platform at the west pin

Working on the east Pearman platform - looks like you could almost jump to the Ravenel main span

I like this - looking down the crane's boom.

Scotty was hauling lumber up to the top for walk boards. Nice to have a personal elevator.

And at the same time, work continues at the port with loading the Mammoet girders

A good view of the hydraulic jack under one arm of the umbrella (over which the hoist cables will pass)

Another view of the hydraulic jack and umbrella assembly

Jeff Wilham on left and Derek Jost on right - from the red team

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer