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.

October 3, 2005:
More problem solving behind the scenes at the Navy Yard - Mostly my mixing up Scott and Kevin. Here exactly one month later, Nov, 3 2005 - Scott is unmixing me. Ponch tried - but I only got more scrambled brains.

There are so many unsung heros within the Testa group - and here is part of the Navy yard team. What happens here? It is a repair depot

where various surgical instruments are repaired. Here, meet Kevin Atkinson, not a member of the Billingsley clan.

and Russell - the master mechanic

and Scott Billingsly, another surgeon surgeon in the Billingsley clan.

Here is Ponch, Kevin, Russell and Scott - obviously deep in discussion about how to solve the next problem.

The Navy yard is also a staging area for transfer of bridge debris to barges -

for building artificial reefs out there somewhere. Here is a barge from Drum Island.

Here is a view of a loaded barge for building an artifical reef.

But there is much much more - here is a barge (center back) that can jack itself up for supporting equipment that needs to be elevated

Here is a closer view - and you can see the teeth in the spuds that hold the barge in whatever elevated position is required

So today I learned more of what is going on behind the scenes. The work on the Grace and Pearman structures is obvious - but the recycling, repair and staging for building artifical reefs is not at all obvious.

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C. Frank Starmer