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 28, 2006:
Downhill unbuilding the Grace

Watch Roy display Grace-ful removal of roadway segments (4 Mb mpg)

The Grace worksite - working backward down the ramp

Roy, Sonny and Richie

while Steve is cutting the next 6 segment grid of roadway segments

Sparks fly while Steve cuts through the angle iron cap of the left shoulder

A milestone - unbuilding the main span and cantilever roadway is complete - and now, just Grace's skeleton. In the foreground, you can see the grid of roadway segments that Steve just completed.

While Steve is cutting, Pio and his jazz ensemble see a pair of dolphins

Roy mounts his tonka-on-steroids and reaches under the left roadway segment. I was so impressed with Roy's graceful management of the roadway segments that I synthesized a video (4 Mb mpg) that displays the entire sequence.

gently lifts the segment

gently picks it up

rotates and

gently lays it down

then rotates back for the next section

And of course, no meeting with Pio's team is complete without a view of jaws

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer