Construction work on $285m Whittier memorial bridge replacement project in the US is expected to be completed earlier than planned following the US Government’s assurance to expedite the project.

The US Government has revealed that the project has been selected to be expedited through permitting and environmental review processes.

The bridge is being built as part of the $3bn Massachusetts accelerated bridge programme to rehabilitate, repair and replace bridges across the state.

Under the project an existing six-lane bridge built in the early 1950s will be demolished and replaced with an eight-lane bridge with four lanes on each side.

It will provide additional I-95 lane capacity to accommodate projected 20-year traffic volumes and improve safety.

The project also includes the replacement or reconstruction of four adjacent bridges along I-95 in Amesbury and Newburyport, and highway widening from the existing six lanes to eight lanes along the 3.5-mile alignment from Exit 57 in Newburyport to Exit 59 in Salisbury.

Construction on the project is expected to start in early 2013 and be completed by summer 2016, while bids for the project are expected by spring next year, Massachusetts Department of Transportation said.