PORTLAND — The Maine Transportation Department says pedestrian, cycling and motor traffic will be affected by construction on busy Veterans Memorial Bridge, which connects Portland and South Portland off of Route 295. Work begins today.

The bridge’s southbound sidewalk and shoulder will be closed starting June 28, affecting motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. There will also be daily southbound lane closures as necessary during off-peak traffic hours for construction activities. Traffic during peak hours on weekdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. will not be affected.

The new bridge is scheduled to open to traffic in summer 2012, when the old Veterans Memorial Bridge will be removed. The entire project will be completed by December 2012.

Project manager Jeff Folsom says that since the existing bridge will remain open during construction of the new bridge, disruption to traffic is expected to be minimal.