Landmark Seacoast bridge to be illuminated again
By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
September 06. 2017 10:21PM
(KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)
The lights along the Alexander Scammell Bridge won't be off much longer. Plans are to have them turned back on this fall.
— The Alexander Scammell Bridge that connects Dover and Durham will be illuminated again.
The 51 decorative lights along the bridge and its approaches were turned off by the New Hampshire Department of Transportation in the spring of 2012 when the state started its campaign to shut off ornamental and obsolete lights along state highways. The Scammell Bridge was one of the first places to go dark.
Late last year, local leaders and Portsmouth resident Renee Plummer started a campaign to have the bridge lit again, citing safety concerns and historic preservation. The bridge is named after a Revolutionary patriot who is known as an adopted son of Durham.
On Monday, Plummer said the Scammell Bridge has always been a favorite of hers.
“It’s a beautiful bridge,” Plummer said. “I’m thrilled that they finally made this decision.”
Plummer hopes state officials will consider switching all the bridges to LED lighting, which is what is being done on the Scammell Bridge by Affinity LED lighting in Dover. After hearing about the efforts to illuminate the bridge again, company officials agreed to relamp the decorative lights at their expense.
Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig said the company has agreed to pay for the power to these lamps until fundraising efforts ensure a steady stream of funding for the lights. Estimates are it will cost about $3,000 a year to pay for energy and maintenance, Selig said.
Selig explained that he has been working with state officials, Dover City Manager Michael Joyal and state Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, to coordinate the efforts.
“We’ve been working on this for a year or so, and we’ve made great progress,” Selig said. “It goes to show with good dialogue, things can get done.”
Watters said he thinks officials at the New Hampshire Department of Transportation should have the ability to review and reverse their decisions to darken certain areas of the state.
“I think we need to revisit that on a case by case basis for safety and/or historic purposes,” Watters said.
Selig said he hopes to have an illumination celebration this fall.
The Alexander Scammell Bridge was opened in 1998, and replaces the original structure built in the 1930s. In 1933, the state Legislature named the bridge after Scammell, a general who died after being wounded in Virginia during the Siege of Yorktown in 1781.