PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — The state Department of Transportation is opening the bids for the Memorial Bridge replacement project a week ahead of schedule.

The department will have its review of the technical proposals completed by Wednesday and will be in position to announce the bids at 3 p.m. Thursday, according to an e-mail sent to the Portsmouth Herald  on Monday.

The original target date for the price openings was Oct. 20.

The department says it is anticipated the governor and Executive Council could award the bridge project contract on Nov. 30.

The old bridge closed permanently to vehicular traffic on July 27 following an inspection that revealed it was no longer safe for traffic to cross to Kittery, Maine.

A new bridge is not expected to be in place until 2014.

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