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.

September 16, 2006:
Releasing Grace's grip on her foundation

This is part 3 - Detaching Grace from her foundation. In part 1 Chris, his 7550 and his iron-worker acrobats removed the roadway support girders from the top of the pier. In part 2, we watched Chris, Lewis, Carlos and Robbie do a little divide and conquor act. They removed the midsection of the Grace pier. Here, the detach the pier form the concrete base and then Chris does a lifting act.

The worksite - adjacent to the Sea Breeze Marina boat storage area

Here Carlos is inspecting the coupling to the concrete footing.

And then starts his burn

and it looks like the paint decides to burn

Cutting around another footing


then from below

Robbie is working on around another of the footings

again, carefully cutting

Meanwhile, Chris is stablizing the entire structure

Once free, Chris gently lifts the structure off the concrete footings

a little rotation action

A good look at Chris at his best

then gently lowering the section

down to the ground - with Lewis (?) directing traffic

And down it rests

ready to continue unbuilding - first detaching the support cables

and the section is free

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C. Frank Starmer