Three factors allowed workers to begin building a bridge near Credit Island in Davenport ahead of schedule.

The company had workers available, the weather has been warm and the Mississippi River is low, making this week the right time to start, said Dan Ward, vice president for General Contractors Inc. of Bettendorf.

In August, the company won the $1.796 million bid to build an 800-foot bridge from Credit Island to Davenport's riverfront recreational trail. Construction was to start in April.

Temperatures have hovered in the mid- to upper 30s and occasionally crept above 40 degrees.

"It has been a great fall for builders," Ward said.

The river level was at 5.8 feet at Lock and Dam 15 on Friday.

This week, workers drove pilings for the bridge and built a temporary causeway across the slough. Work will continue as long as the weather cooperates, Ward said.

"It is going to depend on how cold it gets, as far as what we get done," he said.

The start of construction took city officials by surprise. General Contractors was expected to move materials into place in preparation for construction, but not start on the project, Steve Russell, capital improvements program manager for the city's Public Works Department, said.

The project was originally budgeted at $2.3 million, but an initial design that had the bridge deck hanging from arches put the price tag at $2.9 million. The current design will have pilings with support for the deck underneath.

The bridge will be part of the American Discovery Trail and the Mississippi River Trail as well as the city's own riverfront trail.

A federal transportation enhancement grant is paying $1.437 million of the project, with the rest funded by the city.