A capital campaign to add LED lighting to the new Memorial Bridge received a big boost on Tuesday afternoon after Public Service of New Hampshire officials donated $40,000.
Richard Chagnon, the division manager of PSNH's Seacoast Northern Division, presented the $40,000 check to Memorial Bridge Illumination Subcommittee members at the Strawbery Banke Museum visitors center.
"We're very excited that we at PSNH can make a donation to the Memorial Bridge and the illumination itself," Chagnon said.
He said PSNH officials understand the new Memorial Bridge, which is scheduled to be completed by July 6, "will be an icon for years to come."
Jon DiGesu, a member of the Memorial Bridge Advisory Committee, told Chagnon, "Your gift is truly inspirational." since it launched its capital campaign in December.
More importantly, DiGesu said Memorial Bridge subcommittee members hope PSNH's donation will inspire other Seacoast companies to make similar contributions. "We hope that this gift will inspire other Secoast companies to follow your lead," he said.
Rose Eppard of Portsmouth, a subcommittee member, said the PSNH donation means the volunteer group has raised slightly more than $100,000 of their overall $200,000 goal. She said they need to raise a minimum of $150,000 to have LED lighting installed on both towers and the middle lift span.
Subcommittee member Peter Sommsich said the group has to raise $35,000 to pay for LED lighting for the underside of the Memorial Bridge. He also said the group has selected Lumen Pulse of Montreal, Canada to be the LED lighting vendor and plans are in the works for them to do a LED lighting demonstration on the south tower after that is constructed.
Eppard said the subcommittee did a 40-minute test with one of the LED lights on the south span on Friday night in different colors to give them an idea of what it will look like. DiGesul added, "and it was very beautiful."
New Hampshire Department of Public Works Commission Chris Clement said he is pleased the subcommittee is getting closer to their fund-raising goal. When the state agency installs the LED lighting later this spring, Clement said the new Memorial Bridge will be the state's first illuminated bridge.
He said the fact that a group of Portsmouth area residents and businesses are providing the funding for the LED lighting has drawn a great deal of interest from other states. He said this effort shows how much people care about improving the country's transportation infrastructure.