PORTLAND — Work on northbound I-295 bridges and overpasses will get off to an early start this year due to the mild weather and lack of heavy snowpack, Maine Department of Transportation officials said today.

Preliminary work on the $7.9 million project will get under way this month, MDOT officials said this morning, and the more intense construction will start in about a month. The area involved runs north from the Maine Turnpike/I-295 interchange, through South Portland and Portland to the Washington Avenue interchange on Portland’s East End

MDOT is hoping to modify some of its procedures to minimize traffic interruptions, which were frequent last year when MDOT worked on southbound bridges and overpasses through the two cities.

For instance, MDOT and the Maine State Police are encouraging those who have minor accidents with no injuries to drive to an area that’s out of the construction zone to exchange insurance and contact information.

And the department plans to check detour signs put up by contractors to make sure traffic is being directed correctly.

MDOT will also have streaming video on its website from traffic cams that have been installed around the Forest Avenue interchange so drivers can make plan alternate routes if traffic is backing up.