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 15, 2006: Unbuilding the last truss sections

Even with the rain, Sparky manages to provide a quick progress report. Here, Chris, Manny and our Ironworker acrobats are unbuilding the last of the truss sections - now supported by the braces installed over the past month.

Ken Canty gave me some insights into the supporting structures. According to Ken, the original drawings for the Pearman called for two supports while building the truss sections at the port. Clearly during the building phase, the base of the trusses had to support some heavy equipment. Without the heavy equipment the load will be less, but in this case, engineering judgement called for build two supports for unbuilding similar to those used during the building 50 years ago.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer