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 26, 2006:
Blasting the base of T-4, Iron worker acrobats and gone is the Grace ramp

Today was a 3 event day - Evaporating the Grace ramp at America St., more ironworker acrobatics and Brett loads and blasts the base of T-4.

The worksite around T-4

A closer view. The black regions are rubber tire blankets laying over the base of T-4

Here comes Sharon and Phillip - to get the remote receiver

Today was Brett's day. For the past year of so, he has worked from the bottom of the ladder and moved his way up in his father's organization. Mickey challenged Brett with today's challenge - loading and sequencing amd then pushing the button. So this has been a family affair - Mickey and Ken laid out the strategy, Phillip drilled the holes and Brett loaded and sequenced the explosives. The end result pleased everyone.

Some last minute instruction from Mickey

Since this was Brett's day, I thought it would be fun to try to catch the blast and Brett together. Here is Brett just before he starts the blast

T = .4 sec A small vertical column of smoke appears next to the Grace leg (to the left)

T = .8 sec - here the smoke region appears to be moving to the right

T = 1.2 sec - and by now, there is enough data to suggest that the ignition sequence is propagating from left to right.

T = 1.6 sec

T = 2.0 sec

T = 2.4 sec

T = 3.6 sec

T = 5.6 sec

T = 9.2 sec - its all over

Then after the smoke clears, Leon comes in to start cleaning up

and Ken comes to inspect the results

At the same time, our ironworkers are burning away on the Pearman truss

A closer view

and maybe this is Nugget waving?

The iron worker setup

and elevator

After the event, I looked around and though - hmmmm, probably our ironworker friends have been watching

Then back to work - burning

On my way home, Bob McCabe was directing the finishing touches on clearing the Grace off ramp - with Ryan playing on the grapple

another view - and the wall from yesterday is history today

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer