CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s Executive Council has approved an $81.4 million contract for a new Memorial Bridge that connects the state to Maine.

The state Department of Transportation says work to replace the 90-year-old bridge will start soon. The goal is to have it done by July 2013.

The council on Wednesday approved the contract awarded to Archer Western Contractors, Ltd. of Canton, Mass.

New Hampshire and Maine, which jointly own the Memorial Bridge, will share the cost of the bridge replacement.

The Council’s approval does not include plans for non-structural cables that some people have suggested be part of the bridge.

Demolition of the existing Memorial Bridge is expected to begin in late January 2012. The bridge was closed earlier this year because of safety issues.