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.

March 4, 2006:
Grace resting at the Navy Yard

Early morning starts early on this Saturday. I talked with Speedy last night and he thought it would be interesting to watch the removal of the lower Mammoet beams - so here is the story.

A look a at Grace, resting peacefully at the Navy yard with her lower Mammoet beam.

Jerome was already working

as were Chris and Speedy

We went over to the Cape May and found Chucky and Manny.

The Capt Gary and Eddie R showed up to help move the barge

Here is Farmer tieing off

Pat and a cup of tea

and where we were - his GPS

On the Eddie R - a cup of coffee with Rip and Art

The real worksite - the end of the main span and the lower Mammoet beam

Chucky and the lift bar

With Manny holding the Mammoet beam in place here are Chris, Speedy and Nugget (hidden) cutting the brace between the Mammoet beam and the underside of Grace

Chris and Nugget - Speedy (hidden) cutting and the last view of Grace with the great Mammoet lower beam

Chris (cutting on the left), Speedy and Nugget

Last cut

Watch Manny lifting the Mammoet lower beam (4 Mb mpg). Here Manny starts lifting the beam

Manny rotates the beam

Here, Chucky is directing where to place the great Mammoet beam

Speedy and Nugget uncoupling the lift cables

and the end result - Grace with no lower Mammoet beam

Today, Sparky took the 2nd shift (he and I only work 6 hour shifts - whereas Testa and Cashman have real endurance - and work 12 hour shifts). Pat, Farmer, Art and Rip rotate Grace into the Testa orientation. Watch them perform the rotation (1 Mb mpg)

A view of Grace in the Testa orientation

Another signature bridge

Bye bye, Grace

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer