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 18, 2006: Mickey saves the day: Dropping T4

Today, Mickey and his ABS team saved the day and captured the dynamics of dropping the last Pearman pier (T-4) on Drum Island. Just like dropping a tree - notch it at the base, embed a bit of dynamite, attache a couple of pull ropes at the top, light the fuse, a gentle tug on the cables attached to the cap and - Click for video (wmv) (2.5 Mb) down it comes.

Just after the initial detonation - note the smoke at the base. Also the cables attached to the pier cap are connected to two excavators and tensioned by Leon and his colleague. See October 5 column blast for the pulling cable setup.

A little explosion and Leon's gentle pull on the pier-cap cables and over she goes

about half way

almost down

and poof: no more T-4

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C. Frank Starmer