Cheers and Applause as NH Bridge's Lights Turned Back
DURHAM — Let there be light.
The Scammell Bridge is lit once again after the New Hampshire Department of Transportation shut the lights off five years ago.
Last year Portsmouth resident Renee Plummer waged a campaign to get the lights turned back on.
During a ceremony on Wednesday night Plummer thanked several people including Durham Town Manager Todd Selig, Dover Town Manager Mike Joyal and Affinity LED, the Dover company that helped make it happen.
"Tonight is an honor, and it also is the way that New Hampshire works," Plummer said. "We might be the small state but we are the largest in heart.
"This is how we do it. People want to know, 'did it happen overnight?' No, it never happens overnight, but you know what, we all benefit from it. It's only in this state that you can make a phone call to the governor, to the commissioner ... Eversource. Dear, Paul Ramsey. Oh, I am so sorry. I was so mad. I wanted those lights on."
Plummer's apology to the Eversource representative drew laughter from the crowd. She went on to say she hopes the bridge will be used to teach children the history of Alexander Scammell.
"She was on a mission no question about it," Ramsey, a representative with Eversource, said of Plummer. "It took a lot of folks to make this happen."
Gov. Chris Sununu kicked off the ceremony saying the lights being turned back on is a "great example of public-private partnership."
"They said it wasn't going to get done, but we got it done," Sununu started out. "Whether it's infrastructure projects, development projects or something as what I would say is as simple as lighting a bridge, but everyone knows it is not that simple, but public-private partnerships are a great way to do it.
"I can't take any of the credit for it. It was really an amazing team effort."
Other speakers during the ceremony included Selig, Joyal, DOT Commissioner Victoria Sheehan, Sen. David Watters and Affinity founder Steve Lieber.
Affinity covered the cost to convert the lights to LED and will pay for the cost of operating the lights for the time being.
In 2012 the NH Department of Transportation (DOT) in an effort to cut costs and energy use turned off unnecessary lights on several bridge and roads in the state. The cost saved for keeping the Scammell in the dark amounted to about $7,000 a year.
According to information provided by NHDOT last December, there are 2,661 street lights owned by the state of New Hampshire. So far, 656 lights have been turned off. The NHDOT plans to turn off an additional 1,168 lights, to save a total of $440,000 per year.