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Lights to shine on Scammell Bridge in Dover, Durham

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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.

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