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.

January 10, 2007: Wrapping T-1 for Friday's Blast

Here is the worksite - Preparing T-1 for implosion on Friday - more or less. Here is Manny's crane - today in elevator mode, and rolls of chain link fencing and, as usual, our ironworker acrobats - with Carlos directing traffic.


and behind the container is an almost empty boat rack. The container will shield the lower section of the boat rack.


Here is a view of the elevated work site. Here the main idea is to wrap the column with chain link fence to contain the debris. So rolls of fencing are taken to the elevated work site (via Manny's elevator), where two teams work to insert pins, wrap the fencing around the column and attach it to the pins.


A view of the Manny's crane position and the orange man basket


A closer view of the wrapped sections (above) and a roll of fencing in the yello elevator cab


A closer view of the attachment pins


Here Carlos is guiding Manny for correct placement of the elevator cab


Setting a pin - the old fashioned way - with hammer and muscle


Carlos setting the pin


Then grab a roll of fencing


Attach the end


Unroll it a bit


Pull back (Manny's job)


Rotate into position (more of Manny)


The back side team - on the side of the column that has been drilled for loading dynamite. My question for Mickey and Ken - how are you going to insert the dynamite, stemming and plugs through the fence diamonds?


The orange team attaching the fence


and time for Sparky art: A view of T-1 and the orange man basket


Finished one role - Carlos says to Manny "Fill 'er up - please"


Next roll is loaded


Carlos says "Manny - up - please"


and the next iteration starts - yellow team and orange team and Manny


Starting the next wrapping


and wrapping the column


Placing pins


The view from East Bay and two shadows: left, Sparky, and right, the stop sign


And the sun says good-bye - right on schedule


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer