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 21, 2006: Unbuilding the Grace Cantilever trusses

To me, this is one of the more interesting unbuilding processes - actually unbuilding the cantilever trusses beam by beam or section of beams. Here is the Town Creek worksite - cantilever sections on each side and cranes being positioned.

One of the local elevators, taking our iron-worker acrobats to work

A closer view of the elevator

A closer view of the cranes and antilever segments

Later, our acrobats were in place. On the Port segment, the lift bar has been attached.

A different view of the ironworker acrobat worksite

and cutting through the transverse girder at the top

Our ironworker acrobats on the Port segment of the Grace cantilever section. Looks like one of them is Nugget.

Cutting the crossbeam on the Drum Island segment

a closer view.

When cutting is complete, the beam is lifted and then lowered to the barge below

A view with the cross-beam missing

The Grace acrobats on the Port cantilever section

a closer view (about 11:45 am) and yes, there is Nugget!

Sparky, bless his heart, was just behind me and captured the next truss section coming down - here is his view

being lowered and rotated

and placed on the barge

and gently laying it down

and put to sleep

End of the day - as the barge pulls away

with cousin Arthur watching every move.

Here is what remains of the Port side Pearman and Grace cantilever sections

Now to get our iron worker acrobats down - the elevator

on its way down. I think Nugget is one of our acrobats - that I met several months ago

and a wave from our friends to all of y'all

and our team of ironworker acrobats

A postscript (January 24, 2006).

Sparky, bless his heart, today got photos of as many member of the Port side acrobats and crew as possible - here they are: Emanual Jefferson on the right runs the crane and Tony Turner who runs the 2250 elevator on the port side

Our acrobatic iron workers: left - Nugget (Michael Buehrer) - an old time burner that I met last fall, then Robbie Reeder, Carlos Perez (boss man) and Chris Dangerfield

Chris Wakeman

Jamie Justice works on the tug

Chris Barrett - a pile driver

Right is Pat Scanlan, captain of the Captain Gary and on the left is Farmer

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer