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 17, 2006: Unbuilding the Grace cantilever truss

Watching the unbuilding acrobats beats the circus any day of the week. Here Sparky captured the continuation of building the Town Creek truss structure - piece by piece. Earlier we saw Ken Canty's step by step sequencing of the cutting process. Here is another example. An overview of the Port side of the Grace cantilever

Supported by the crane, our acrobats burn through the plate

Burning in context - on top, buring through the plate while the crane stabilizes the girder section

A gentle lift and separation (note lower right gap)

continued cutting through the top girder

more cutting, lifting and separation

final separation

and break away

rotating to lower the segment on the barge

The edge of the port-side cantilever, the Drum Island cantilever and lowering the section

down to the barge

then laying it over on its side

almost down and

down and sleeping

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C. Frank Starmer