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 10, 2005:
East Bay and harvesting shoulders

East Bay has a different look. Its about 7am and the next set of girders was removed (last night, I think).

Looking left is the Pearman ramp and about half of the East Bay girders have been harvested

and some of the Pearman skeleton

a bit further is the Pearman and Grace skeletons. Barely visible on the right side of the Pearman is the neck of the shear used to harvest concrete segments.

and to the right is Charleston's new Stonehenge (with Chris operating the Grove 7550 and preparing to harvest a girder)

Meanwhile, on the Pearman ramp, Pio's team is busy harvesting and transporting shoulder segments - here with Brad operating the shear and Kevin operating the grapple

Here is Kevin with a freshly harvested shoulder

and Pio directing the harvesting

Water plays an important part in minimizing the dust

and walking back down the Pearman ramp, to the left is the current harvest of shoulders - ready for transport to the Navy yard and then for transplantation to a reef site selected by the Division of Natural Resources.

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C. Frank Starmer