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 10, 2007: Manny and his lifting and drivving act

Today most of the action centered around Manny and the guys driving steel somethings into the riverbottom around the Seabreeze Marina pier. Here is the worksite.


Another view of the wrapped left side and the guys working on the right


While Manny is still in the fetching and toting business with a twist - using a hydraulic hammer to drive the steel somethings into the river bottom


Here is the barrier building site


and the setup. The steel beams being lifted from the barge and then placed against the edge of the Seabreeze pier. To the left you can see the hose assembly for feeding the hydraulic hammer


and the hammer


Jaws - literally, for holding the beam in place while being hammered down into the Town Creek floor


Here is the hammer assembly in position with a beam


and the start of the barrier - with welding generator in the background


Positioning the next beam


a closer view - is that Scott in a Green helmet - and Stan in the welding helmet


Down come the beam with Stan watiching and Scott directing traffic for Manny


A Sparky-art photo. Looking up the side of the barge spud as Manny positions the beam


Click to watch Manny drive the beam down


Lower with Stan on the left and Scott on the right


and lower


and then Stan welding it to the adjacent beam


Stan makes nice clean welds


Positioning the next beam - Scott on the left and Stan exchanged his welding helmet for his blue hardhat


and here is a great photo - Manny in the spread-eagle position with baseball cap in place with Scott and Stan positioning the beam


Down it slowly comes - looks like Carlos with this white hat - but white hats can be tricky to recognize


Scott encouraging the beam into the proper position with Stan wondering looking at the alignment


While our sky team is busy positioning themselves


Then Manny lifts another beam


Up, up and away


Watch Manny lift another


until it is positioned. Then attach the hammer, reposition next to the pier and drive it into the Town Creek floor


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

C. Frank Starmer