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.

May 21, 2006:
Unbuilding P-10

From afar - this may be a bit confused. Basically Michael is unbuilding P-10 - one of the Grace piers. The concrete Grace piers (P-7, P-8, P-9 and P-10) are constructed with two outside columns and a hollow core. I was a bit puzzled by the strategy of knocking out the center first so I phoned Ken Canty how shared the strategy with me.

Ken said that if you knock the outer columns down first, then there is nothing to support the inner core resulting in a very unstable structure. However, but first removing the majority of the inner hollow core, the outer columns are able to continue to support the overall structure. Once the center core is removed, then the outer columns can be safely unbuilt.

The Mt. Pleasant worksite - preparations for building the observation / fishing pier.

The worksite from the Mt Pleasant side - showing P-10 with its inner core partially removed. To the left is the last remaining steel Pearman structure which will be explosively dropped on Wednesday morning.

The inner core of P-10 with Mickey's John Henry drilling at the substructure base of P-11.

To the left, our Demolition Dynamics team is preparing the Pearman superstructure.

Another view of P-10 and Mickey's drilling

What is left. The Mt. Pleasant pier base, C-3 (C-4 was first uncapped and then dropped last week, which I missed but hope to get some photos from Mickey) then P-9, P-8 and P-7 in the background

Here you can see a superstructure component of Grace between P-8 and P-9

P-10 from the side

and a different view

Looking toward the Motley Rice building

and looking toward the new condo on the Mt. Pleasant side

Mickey's John Henry from behind - and one of the Pearman substructures

Showing P-10 -> P-7 with the Grace fragment between

P-10 again - but perhaps I'm confused and this is P-6?

This is probablly the hammer on the left

Hmm - this is not the John Henry - but the other drilling rig

From the Drum Island side - and now I"m confused - This must be P-6? with the Grace fragment between P-7 and P-8.

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C. Frank Starmer