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 18, 2005:
Picking girders during the day

Steven SettiDucati emailed last night wondering whether I had a photo of the new 7550 what showed everything. Together we looked but nothing met his needs. This morning, I took a quick ride to East Bay to see the progress - and discovered an East Bay Stonehenge. Returning a couple of hours later, it seems I almost missed the action. Here is the worksite - with the final cuts being made by Jed and Tod

Here is Jed starting his diagonal cut on the far side

and at the other end, Tod also makes a little burning action

Chris is operating the 7550 and this is what he sees and on the right, what I see

Jed is nearing the end of cutting through the main girder

while Chris smiles

Tod is burning through an intermediate beam

Meanwhile, Jed is nearly finshed with his final diagonal cut on the near side edge girder

and here makes the final cut

Tod is about at the same place with his final cut. In the background you can see the open cut of the outside girder

With Jed and Tod safely down - Chris starts lifting the Grace skeleton. I've stitched together some more frames to make a short 1 Mb mpg video

rotates it to the left

lowers it over the fence

and starts the final descent


and to its resting place

Here they have started disasembly of the support pier

with Tod and Jed doing their burning

And at the same time, work continues to retrive the Pearman bones the dropped on Tuesday. Here is something new - a climbing barge that elevates itself by ratcheting itself up the vertical black (yellow tips) poles. A crane can be placed on the platform - and my speculation is that this will be used to remove the cantilever region overhanging the port. We'll have to wait and see.

Here is the assembly under the platform - the ratchet poles and directional propellers.

The Pearman bones

The Hampton Roads pulled into the port area a few days ago and Jack Meyers and his team are busy dredging the channels and port areas

This was just a nice view of the Ravenel

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

C. Frank Starmer