As of the Labor Day weekend 2012, the Reflecting Pool is back in business, full of water, and open to the public. It looks great–they’ve done a really nice job. The gravel paths running the length of the pool have been replaced–with paving for the paths closest to the pool and asphalt for the next row over–and the water looks clean and tidy. Here are some photos of how it looks as of September 3.
Originally built in the early-1920s and rarely upgraded since, the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and its immediate area, including the adjacent but less famous Constitution Gardens, has been in need of some attention for a while. The paths either side–officially called the “social trail”–have looked sloppy, more dirt than gravel. And the water has basically been a giant pond without any circulation. Or, as one National Park Service ranger put described it to me, a big bath tub . . . with geese. The stagnant water could get a bit on the nose in the middle of summer, especially since it becomes homes to more than a few ducks and geese.
Now that the renovations to the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial have been finished, the National Park Service has shifted its attention down the stairs to the Reflecting Pool. It is currently a construction zone and closed to visitors. The water has been drained, and it’s currently a giant mud pit, albeit one with a fantastic view.
It’s one of the largest allocations of stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. And it’s a big job. Over 2,000 50-foot timber pilings, much like telephone poles, were embedded into the soft river clay to provide long-term support for the pool’s foundation. In July 2011, the first of about 11,000 cubic yards of concrete began being hauled in by a fleet of trucks to start lining the new pool. ((Michael E. Ruane, “Shoring Up Support for Lincoln Reflecting Pool,” Washington Post, 10 May 2011.)) As of July 2012, the entire pool floor has been paved with concrete, the walkways along the side have mostly been paved.
The reconstruction was scheduled to take between 18 months and 2 years and cost over $30 million.
When it’s done, the social trail on each side of the pool will be replaced with a 13-foot stone paved perimeter, the source of the water in the pool will be switched from the current DC municipal water supply to the Tidal Basin, new lighting will be installed in the surrounding area, and a low retaining wall will be added, as will a new circulation and filtration system to keep the water clean and fresh. ((“Repairs Set for Reflecting Pool,” 2 April 2010, Washington Post; Amy D’Onofrio, “Reflecting Pool to Undergo Planned Renovations Next Fall,” 8 April 2010, The GW Hatchet; Bilikisu Adeyemi, D.C.’s Reflecting Pool to Close for Repairs, 26 October 2010, UWire.))
There’s more on the Reflecting Pool on this page.
Here’s how it looked as of July 2, 2012:
Here’s how it looked as of the end of March 2012:
Here’s how it looked as of the end of February 2012:
Here’s how it looked as of mid-December 2011: