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:
Harvesting Pearman Girders

Early morning and here is an inside view of the Pearman supports (looking west), a sleeping 1250 and the Grace skeleton

Soon the 1250 wakes up (Michael's alarm) and he starts hammering away at the top of the next pier cap. Notice to the left - the water to minimize dust

On the other side of the street is Chris and his 7550 for a little girder picking action this morning

The burners are cutting the cross members that couple the left outside and adjacent girders

a closer look at burning

When Chris tried to lift the girder, the far end cross braces did not break - so

Chris placed the girder back on the near pier cap

and then the guys elevated themselves to make a final burn

which freed the girder. I have stiched together a group of photos showing the acrobatics that Chris must do with the girder to move it from the top of the pier cap to its resting place. Click for a 9 Mb mpg video segment

and placed so that it can be cut into shorter segments

that can be loaded into a truck and removed

and in the meantime, Michael has removed the left section of the pier cap

A last look at the worksite

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer