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 14, 2005:
Picking the East Bay section of the Grace

Something new - removing an entire section of the Grace Bridge over East Bay. Here is the setup - Paul's team will cut the superstructure at the supports and then Chris and his trusty Grove 7550 will lift a section and lower it to the roadway.

Attaching cables that connect the to-be-removed-section to Chris's 7550

Cutting through the right side cross members.

Here is another view of the guys in their man basket and the X cross members

making another July 4th-like display

At the same time, another pair is cutting through the left side edge girder - starting at the top and working their way down.

Here you can see the diagonal path they have cut

A view of their man basket up inside the superstructure.

To the right - you can see that the edge girder to the right has been completely separated from the segment to the left.

Then they started working on the opposite side (north side)

More cutting on the north side

Here you can see their platform behind the north edge girder

Here you can clearly see the diagonal cut on the southern edge girder

They lower themselves (see the arm of the man basket)

Then Chris lifts the left side

The right side fractures at the points of the preliminary cuts

Then, Grace is free

is rotated and on her way down

resting on the East Bay roadway

looking at the end of the bridge segment

and for the first time in about 70 years, the north lanes of East Bay are free of Grace

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

C. Frank Starmer