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:
Lifting Concrete Girders

This is a continuation of the story of removing concrete girders. I first watched this while the I-26 overpass was being removed. Here is the setup - the Grace and Pearman overpasses (over Immigration Drive) and a few guys starting to set up the crane. I stiched together a video from a group of photos showing the crane lowering a concrete girder.(15 Mb mpeg).

And the crane in its sleeping configuration

A view of the Pearman and Grace passing over Immigration Drive looking south

The overpass looking south down Immigration Drive. Note Jackie in his Cat above as the crane lowers a concrete girder

Another view of the Immigration Drive setup (Neil's night team)

The Pearman concrete girders and the crane in its erect position

Once the girder is positioned, the shear is used to break up the girder into smaller segments.

Watching the shear at work at night is just plain fun

and more fun as it takes another bite from the girder

Now to lift the next girder, the hoisting cable is wrapped around the girder

Two teams attach the hoisting cables

and then the right guys cut through the girder attachment over the supporting pier.

Then Jackie moves in above and hammers around the girder to break it loose

A closer view of hammering

Then Paul's team above cuts the attachments

like a July 4th celebration

Then Jackie picks up one end of the girder with his shear

and lifts and separates

then the crane takes up the slack and Jack lets go of the girder

The crane then picks up the girder and rotates it slightly to clear the supporting structures

more lifting

then lowering the girder


down and down

and rotating it to place it in the graveyard - food for the shear

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

C. Frank Starmer