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Lights back on for Scammell Bridge

Union Leader Correspondent

October 11. 2017 11:46PM
A couple who attended the lighting ceremony at the Scammell Bridge on Wednesday held hands as they took a walk to look at the new LED lights. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

DURHAM — After five years in the dark, the Alexander Scammell Bridge which connects Durham and Dover is awash in light again.

During a ceremony Wednesday evening, Gov. Chris Sununu said getting the lights turned back on is the result of the hard work of people dedicated to the project.

“They said it wasn’t going to get done, but we got it done,” Sununu said.

Sununu said he is pushing public-private partnerships, and the bridge is a good example of how businesses and community leaders can work together to accomplish common goals.

“Public-private partnerships are a great way to do it, and this is a great example, I think, of just that 21st century way of doing things,” Sununu said.

The Scammell Bridge was opened in 1998 to replace one that was built over the Bellamy River in the 1930s. It is named after a Revolutionary War soldier born in Massachusetts and who is considered an adopted son of Durham. Scammell died after being injured in Virginia during the Siege of Yorktown in 1781.

The 52 lights along the bridge and its approaches were turned off in the spring of 2012 when the NHDOT started its statewide campaign to shut off ornamental and obsolete lights along the state’s highways.

In December, Durham’s Town Administrator Todd Selig wrote a letter to NHDOT Commissioner Victoria Sheehan expressing his concern about safety issues.

At the same time, Portsmouth businesswoman Renee Plummer started advocating for the lights to come back on. She printed bumper stickers making a case for relighting the bridge.

This year, Affinity LED Lighting stepped forward and offered to replace the bulbs and pay for the lights.

A representative from the company said they appreciate Scammell’s sacrifice because they build some of their lights in Dover and those are all assembled by veterans.

Plummer said the relighting project is an example of how New Hampshire people work together to get things done.

“We might be a small state, but we are the largest in heart,” Plummer said. “It’s only in this state that you can make a phone call to the governor.”

Plummer said relighting the bridge is important for teaching children about New Hampshire history.

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