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 20, 2005:
A view from above - lifting a concrete girder

A view of the setup on top of the Pearman approach: A hammer, a shear and three guys (Paul, Jackie and I forgot)

Coupling the hoisting cables to the concrete girder - the two lower guys are in a man basket from below.

A bit of burn surgery - cutting through the attachments at the far end

Then Jackie Using the shear to lift one end of the girder

Jackie and a bit of surgery here - gently lifiting one end of the girder

With the crane taking up the slack, Jack eases the shear grip and backs away

and the crane lifts - (I stitched a short video of the action click for video (6 Mb))

and lifts

and lifts

and now lowers the girder

down and down and down

until all that is left is the ghost of the pearman and a couple more girders

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C. Frank Starmer