Atlantic Wood provides pilings for renovated Reflective Pool in D.C.

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Atlantic Wood employees Tim Murphy, left, Floyd Darden, Lavon Flythe, Chet Poland and Curtis Stephens stand in front of pilings being shipped to Washington, D.C., for renovating the Lincoln Memorial Reflective Pool on the National Mall. -- GWEN ALBERS | TIDEWATER NEWS

NEWSOMS—The Lincoln Memorial Reflective Pool — part of Washington, D.C.’s iconic image — is sinking, and a Southampton County company is helping save it.

Atlantic Wood in Newsoms submitted the lowest bid to provide wood pilings for the $30 million renovation of the pool on the National Mall, which gets 24 million visitors annually. The pilings will serve as a foundation for the 80-year-old pool.

“What’s happening is the reflective pool was sinking,” said Scott Crossman, a salesman for Atlantic Wood. “There was no foundation; it was built on a swamp with some sand and some asphalt.”

The 110-year-old Savannah, Ga.,-based company, which has had a facility in Newsoms since 1987, is making the pilings from Southern Yellow Pine harvested in Virginia and North and South carolinas. Plant manager Chet Poland couldn’t say if any of the pines would be harvested in Western Tidewater.

Atlantic Wood, which also makes telephone poles and bridge lumber, is manufacturing 2,700 to 2,800 pilings for the project, which involves pealing, drying and treating the harvested timber.

“We are using 40-, 45- and 50-footers,” Poland said.

The pilings will be driven into the bedrock, cut off if needed, and concrete will be poured over them.

Atlantic Wood, which employs 40, began the project in early April and expects to be finished next month.

Atlantic Wood bid on the contract because it can handle the volume, Crossman said.

“We’re doing over 100 pilings a day,” he said. “That’s four truckloads a day. Right now, we’re sending five a day.”

He noted that when the pilings are sunk, a four-ton hammer pounds them into the ground.

The bulk of the old concrete pool has been ripped out, except for remnants of the original asphalt bottom.