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 20, 2006:
Sparky braves the elements and catches installation of the Mammoet umbrellas

A dark and dreary day for Sparky, Mammoet, Testa, Cashman and Charleston. The worksite

The box formed by the upper and lower Mammoet beams and cables parallel to the Pearman vertical beam joining the cantilever attachment pins

The left umbrella has been installed and installing the hydraulic jack assembly on the Ravenel Bridge (south) side

A closer view of the installed (on the north: Grace bridge side) hydraulic jack, umbrella and attached cables. The cable bundle on the left passes down to the lower Mammoet beam where it is attached thus forming a cradle. After passing over the umbrella, the cable bundle passes through the hydraulic jack.

Installing the Ravenel Bridge side assembly - Lowering the partner jack, umbrella and cable assembly down to rest on the top of the red beam (Mammoet beam).

A closer view

In context - the beam, umbrella and cable assembly. One end of the cable bundle is attached to the lower beam, feeds up and around the top of the umbrella, down and through the hydraulic jack and then hangs below (I think). Note on the left of the beam joining the cantilever attachment pins is the cable assembly and its harness for connecting to the lower Mammoet beam.

A closer view of the installed jack - umbrella assembly

Almost complete installation. Note the cable assembly bracket being lowered onto the attachment point on the red Mammoet beam.

The lower and upper Mammoet beams with attached jack - umbrella - cable assembly

A closer view of the lower beam and attached cables

The lower cable attachment - just over the lower pin connecting the main span with the cantilever truss.

Stay tuned

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer