Back to top


pounds CO2
emissions reduced

Somersworth, NH invests in LED streetlights with grant funds

Original article can be found at this address.

Thanks a million! Somersworth makes most of grants

By Judi Currie
[email protected]

SOMERSWORTH — More than a million dollars in grant funds have come to the city of Somersworth over the past year thanks to the efforts of staff and department heads.

According to City Manager Bob Belmore, all of the grants involve some level of writing, coordination, and implementation, but is time well spent.

In a report to the Somersworth City Council in December, Belmore said the totals reflect the past 12 months or so of “our City staff working to pursue grant funds for infrastructure improvements and to assist in a more efficient and effective delivery of municipal services to our community.”

Belmore said the grant funds awarded total more than $1.1 million and there is more where that came from, as the pending grant funding applications total approximately $1.1 million as well.

According to Police Chief David Kretschmar, his department was awarded Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) for approximately $15,000 in 2015, 2016 and 2017, rounds. He said the department purchased laser training caps, a duty weapon and software upgrades to network servers, cruiser modems and replaced patrol rifles.

Somersworth Police also received grants for DWI Enforcement efforts, Operation Safe Commute and Seat Belt Enforcement Patrols, and Distracted Driving Patrols.

According to Fire Chief Keith Hoyle, his department received a SAFER Act grant for from FEMA for $99,068 and added 10 new call firefighters. It included the cost of their medical exams, protective gear, uniforms and some training.

Another FEMA grant, called FIRE Act is for $250,000 to replace the nearly 30-year-old SCBA refill van used for the Community Mutual Aid Association. The new vehicle will be a first-in-the-nation combination of SCBA refill and firefighter rehabilitation unit.

A grant for active shooter equipment from NH Homeland Security will provide up to $6,000 for equipment to protect firefighters accompanying police officers into warm zones for active shooter situations. Firefighters’s role in active shooter events is to accompany police and EMS into the “warm zone” to remove possible victims after police have confronted the shooter.

Mike Bobinsky, director of public works and utilities, identified seven grants covering projects including LED lighting, sidewalks and preservation of the city’s historic treasures.

A Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant is for $699,000 with a local share of $139,800 and involves the replacing and upgrading of traffic control equipment at all signalized intersections along the High Street Corridor from West High Street to the Dover Weeks Crossing. It also includes new equipment to interface with the City of Dover Central Avenue/Weeks Crossing Intersection for improved synchronization and traffic flow through the High Street corridor.

A grant for Drinking Water Interconnection with the City of Dover for $1,300,000, involves the engineering and construction of a new water main to connect the two cities. A new pump station will allow water to be transferred to either Somersworth or to Dover in the event either community faces a water quality emergency.

Another project involves the replacement of approximately 750 city streetlights with new LED light fixtures. The city entered into a contract with Affinity LED for the replacement work. Return on the city’s investment after receiving the Eversource Incentive funds will be paid back after two years.

At the historic Forest Glade Cemetery off Maple Street, a Moose Plate grant of $10,000 will result in replacing panels and restoring the granite pillars that form the formal entrance to the cemetery.

A grant funded by the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) will pay for conducting a structural assessment of the Furber Chapel at Forest Glade Cemetery.

A Transportation Alternatives Program-TAP Grant for $789,200 involves constructing new sidewalks on High Street, upgrading crosswalk access on High Street, constructing a sidewalk on Memorial Drive and Cemetery Road and constructing a multi-use path between the elementary school and middle school.

Shanna Saunders, director of community development, was involved in the TAP and CMAQ grants alongside public works. She also listed a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for $45,000 for upgrading the Jules Bisson playground and park including a new play structure, ADA upgrades and possibly new parking.

In addition to the proposals put together by police, fire, public works and development, the city completed work on a $500,000 CDBG award to the Somersworth Housing Authority, $60,000 for the Eddy Bridge rehabilitation project, as well as $187,000 NH DES Brownfields Grant awarded for the former Breton’s Cleaners cleanup project.

LED lights relight Scammell Bridge

Original article can be found at this address.

LED lights relight Scammell Bridge

By Brian Early
[email protected]

DURHAM — The streetlights shine again on the Alexander Scammell Bridge over the Bellamy River.

Five years after the New Hampshire Department of Transportation shut off the lights that illuminated the bridge that connects Dover and Durham, the lights were turned back on just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of a group of local and state dignitaries who gathered by the Durham side of the bridge.

Those included Gov. Chris Sununu, DOT Commissioner Victoria Sheehan, Sen. David Watters and Portsmouth businesswoman Renee Plummer who led a campaign to turn the lights back on. Plummer handed out bumper stickers she had made earlier this year in efforts to generate interest in the relighting campaign.

Since the lights were shut off in 2012, Durham and Dover’s municipal officials had unsuccessfully lobbied the DOT, which owns the bridge and lights, to turn them back on and pay for the electricity. A deal wasn’t reached until Dover-based Affinity LED Lighting agreed to — at its own cost — retrofit the 150-watt high-pressure sodium lamps out of the old fixtures with 27-watt LED lights and pay for, at least initially, the electricity to light the bridge.

The LED lights, using 82 percent less electricity, will cost less than $2,000 a year, Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig estimated. DOT spokesman Bill Boynton told Foster’s earlier this year it cost the state about $7,000 per year to light the bridge with the old lights.

Boynton said the decision to shut off the lights in 2012 followed a 50 percent cut in the agency’s utility budget as well as new internal criteria for streetlight use. In 2012, the DOT operated 2,661 lights around the state, but 661 have since been eliminated, saving about $280,000 a year. More lights are slated for removal to cut its electrical bills further, he said.

Steve Lieber of Affinity LED Lighting said the firm is working with many municipalities in the state, including Dover, to replace streetlights with energy efficient LED lights. Military veterans employed by the company assemble the LED lights in Dover, he said.

The bridge is named for Alexander Scammell, who commanded the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment during the Revolutionary War and later led a unit called Scammell’s Light Infantry. Scammell, who earned the ranks of colonel and adjutant general, was wounded in September 1781 near Yorktown, Virginia, in the war’s last major battle and died a week later. He’s known as Durham’s adopted son.

Plummer said that part of her goal in getting the lights to be turned on was to honor the general. Her bumper sticker said, “Turn on the lights! Make General Alexander Scammell Proud.”

After a short presentation of speakers, John Branagan of Affinity LED Lighting, sent a text to workers on either side of the bridge to flip the switch. About 10 seconds later, the lights turned on to cheers.

Lights to shine on Scammell Bridge in Dover, Durham

Original article can be found at this address.

Lights to shine on Scammell Bridge in Dover, Durham

DURHAM — The decorative lights lining Scammell Bridge connecting Dover and Durham over the Bellamy River will be illuminated again with a relighting ceremony Wednesday.

The ceremony is set for Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. on the Durham side of the bridge, according to Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig. Sunset will be at 6:07 p.m., he said. Attendees should plan to arrive at 5:30 p.m. Parking is available in the parking lot on the Durham side of the bridge.

The ceremony will take place along the northwestern sidewalk. Durham police will have officers on hand to ensure the safe crossing of the roadway by attendees. Durham Parks & Recreation will set up a mobile P.A. system for dignitaries to provide brief remarks.

The lighting is thanks in large part to Affinity LED Lighting of Dover, which covered much of the cost, Selig said. Affinity, located in the One Washington Mill in Dover, paid for the high-efficiency lights and installation. At least initially, the company also will pay for electricity to light the bridge.

DOT shut off 52 lights on and around the bridge in 2012 in a statewide effort to reduce its streetlights and comply with new departmental criteria for operating them. At least 661 lights have shut off state-wide since then and more than 1,000 more are slated for removal across New Hampshire.

Durham and Dover officials have worked with DOT officials to turn the lights back on, pointing to aesthetic and safety concerns for pedestrians using the bridge for a variety of recreational purposes, Selig said.

Portsmouth businesswoman Renee Plummer also advocated for the lights to come back on. Earlier this year, she printed bumper stickers making the case for relighting the bridge.

The state lets communities affected by streetlight removal pay to operate the lights if they choose, although that idea faced opposition in Durham and Dover, whose taxpayers would have had to cover the bill for electricity. The state previously paid about $7,000 a year to light the span, Selig said.

Affinity LED Lighting stepped forward early this year. The company bought and installed 51 lights on the bridge and another, brighter light in the parking lot on the Durham side. The project took 150-watt high-pressure sodium lamps out of the old fixtures and retrofitted them with 27-watt LED lights using a 3,000K color temp. Affinity reports this is the perfect lighting for the pedestrian walkway, Selig said.

LED lights on the bridge will use about 85 percent less electricity than the previous lights with annual electricity costs to likely be less than $2,000 a year.

Durham, Affinity, DOT and Dover are finalizing the agreement for relighting the span. Eversource was also an integral partner. Multiple tests on the bridge have been successful confirming the existing lighting infrastructure was sound, Selig said.

The Scammell Bridge is named for Alexander Scammell, who commanded the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment during the Revolutionary War and later led a unit called Scammell’s Light Infantry. Scammell, who earned the ranks of colonel and adjutant general, was wounded in September 1781 near Yorktown, Virginia, and died a week later.

Portsmouth LED Streetlight Project 95 Percent Complete

Original article can be found at this address.


Since April, the Department of Public Works has been working with Eversource and Affinity LED Lighting to assist in converting all of its high pressure sodium (HPS) street lights to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights. With this citywide implementation, the City will experience further reductions in energy consumption, costs and light pollution, along with improved visibility and safety on the roads.

Currently, this project is about 95 percent complete, with the downtown area currently being addressed. Once all 1,610 streetlights have been converted to LED equipment, the City will save $120,000 in annual cost, 494,000 kWh of annual electricity consumption, and prevent over 300 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

While reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions bring significant benefits, Public Works has also paid close attention to ensure the new lights comply with emerging American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines regarding best practices for LED street lighting and how to minimize potentially harmful effects. According to the AMA, LEDs that are rated above 4,000 Kelvin (K), using the temperature measurement by which light color is measured, should be avoided. The problem isn’t brightness so much as wavelength, light that appears white to the naked eye contain larger amounts of blue light. Our eyes treat “white” blue-heavy light, such as the glow of a smartphone, like the midday sun. The science is still evolving, and recent studies have postulated a link between blue light and our bodies’ responsiveness that set our daily circadian rhythm.

LED lights are typically hailed as a positive for the environment because they consume much less electricity and last much longer than high pressure sodium lights. While the AMA welcomes the reduced emissions and energy efficiency benefits of LED lights, they encourage proper attention to optimal design and engineering features to minimize potential health and environmental effects caused by too much “white” blue light. The City’s LED lights will shine at warm 3,000K, are Dark Sky compliant and will provide more accurate color rendering. By correctly reproducing the colors of objects in comparison to the light source, improved color rendering makes it easier for drivers to recognize potential road hazards, crosswalks, pedestrians, etc.