A Thank You to Memorial Bridge Supporters
San Francisco has the Golden Gate. New York has the Brooklyn. And Portsmouth and Kittery have the Memorial Bridge. It’s amazing how intertwined and significant a bridge becomes in its community—representing the connections people make, ensuring continued economic progress, establishing a landmark.
So when the Memorial Bridge faced a crossroads in 2011, the surrounding communities came together with the realization that the iconic bridge is, in fact, far more than steel and granite. Instead, the bridge:
- New Hampshire’s official state memorial to World War I servicemen.
- Offers pedestrians the chance to observe a working waterfront where lobster boats come and go; barges deliver road salt at the Marine Terminal; and submarines are repaired at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
- Provides the only pedestrian and cycling link between New Hampshire and Maine.
- Was the first major “vertical lift” bridge in the eastern United States when it was built in 1923.
For all these reasons and more, when the bridge was permanently closed to all motor vehicle traffic due to long-brewing safety concerns, the communities of Portsmouth and Kittery spoke
“I really commend the citizens who took on this project,” says Jim Pender, president and CEO of the Lighting Center at Rockingham Electric, which donated $10,000 toward illuminating the renovated bridge. “They worked tirelessly and found solutions to every challenge that occurs in a project of this size. Their work really can be an example of how citizens can lead municipal projects through. It’s quite impressive.”loudly: the Memorial Bridge must be reconstructed—in the spirit of the original and with a eye toward the present day.
Impressive it is:
- The Memorial Bridge Illumination Committee raised more than $200,000 in pledges—100% of which were collected.
- The project set new standards for federally funded infrastructure projects.
- The work and cooperation of the committee was recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association, which works to conserve energy and preserve views of the night sky.
Because of all this work, today, the two bridge towers and the WWI memorial plaque are illuminated by 52-watt energy-saving LED streetlights. There are 16 programmed scenes that can be shown—solid color scenes, changing color scenes, and a program to go with the tides, lighting artist John Powell told SeacoastOnline.
“I think I can speak for everyone in the Greater Seacoast, when I extend our thanks to the Bridge Illumination Committee,” Pender says. “The work they spear-headed has resulted in an even more beautiful skyline that Portsmouth can be proud of.”