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.

November 2, 2005:
Cleaning up the East Bay - Ravenel ramp

I overslept. Yesterday (Nov 1), Paul's team finished removing the girders from the Pearman approach up to East Bay - here, the last girder is being lowered.

Last night, Neil's team would cut and remove the roadway over the Ravenel approach. The only problem is I managed to make it over to the site about 4am, just in time to watch the cleanup. Here is an overview - exposed girders and cleaning up below.

So again, it was fun to capture with long exposures, the stationary structures and the moving machines and workers.

Loading the debris into a truck

Night photos are fun, because you can see through the arms of a loader and watch someone (I need to meet) directing the process.

A different view showing the large tembers used to protect the roadway.

Richie was driving the highly mobile Cat - here a blur while debris is picked up from the tember floor

Here is Richie's cat - waiting

Neil, to the right with his arms folded, has completed his conducting of the night symphony orchestra

More cleanup of debris on the temporary wooden floor

As some of the temporary floor is cleaned, it is removed as Neil inspects the progress.

Looking at the skeleton of the Ravenel ramp overpass and Neil's team

while Richie empties his bucket of small pieces of debris

And by about 5:30, its almost all over

Tonight, I'll sleep less and follow the 7550 lifting the girder skeleton. I discovered the 550 represents the lift capacity of the Grove 7550 - but the 7? What does that mean?

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C. Frank Starmer