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 25, 2006:
Sparky, Iron Workers and High Adventure

The iron workers that I met during the building of the Ravenel Bridge and now during the unbuilding of the Grace and Pearman Bridges are just plain different. Here is where they hang out - with Andrew Miller to the far left, then Charles Spires and Carlos Perez (boss)

Mike Nally (Marine Supervisor on the right) and Scott (foreman on the left).

and Stan Dawson. I met Stan Dawson was working with Nathan Brooks (Speedy) as part of Bob McCabe's group when they were harvesting griders on the Mt. Pleasant side.

The Town Creek worksite

and their elevator

Sparky had the opportunity to use the elevator and catch some spectacular views of the work - here with Nugget and Chris

The Pearman cantilever truss

and its top

The Grace cantilever truss

The guys on their way up

Getting set up for some burning

Looking down the Pearman roadway toward Meeting St. The only reminder is the lonely Pearman pier at East Bay St.

A closer view of the building or rather, rebuilding between East Bay and Meeting St.

Looking down the top of the Pearman

Going down - Nugget and Chris Dangerfield

The Drum Island site - what a great job these guys have done cleaning up.

A closer view

Looking down at the pieces of the girders

Chris and Nugget

a view down the crane boom

and back on earth - Here is Paul Achorn, one of the marine supervisors - who knows what to do next?

More cutting - disassembly of the box girders

piece by piece

Lots of pieces

and when a section is completed

it is moved

One of the major junctions of girders

Better than the 4th of July

just slice and dice

A small conference

and more cutting

An interesting view of cutting

even more interesting

Looking down the inside of the box girder

Even from far away - its interesting

All the while - more cutting

until its all done.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer