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Appetite for construction at BDI

Landmark vendor open for season under gaze of bridge repair

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Are you salivating for a Sleeping Beauty or pining for a Peach Velvet?


If so, you’re in luck — because the Bridge Drive Inn is now open for business, after raising its shutters for the season on Sat., March 24.


As the landmark Jubilee Avenue-based vendor gets back to business, work continues on the third and final construction phase of the adjacent Elm Park Bridge.


The current work involves repairs to the structural steel supporting the deck, installation of a curb and gutter across the bridge, a new pedestrian/bicycle railing and asphalt resurfacing, a city spokesperson said.


A new bridge abutment on the south end of the footbridge — which spans north from the corner of BDI’s parking lot south to the Kingston Crescent area of St. Vital — has also been constructed, the spokesperson said.


Work on this phase began last August and is expected to be completed by the first week of June. Total construction cost is expected to be approximately $1.2 million.


Roger Brisebois, BDI’s manager, said part of the deal with the city was to keep the bridge open during the construction.


"It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but the footbridge is still usable," said Brisebois, who lives in St. Boniface, noting the popularity of the business is due to a combination of its reputation, location and variety of products.


Among the customers on BDI’s opening weekend was East Kildonan resident Danielle Plett, who said BDI’s seasonal start means summer is just around the corner.


"I was disappointed to see construction on the bridge when I drove up, because I thought it might impact my visit," Plett said.


"But I was pleasantly surprised to see I could walk across it. Something about the ice cream is always delicious and I enjoy the whole experience."


St. Vital resident Lizette Ptashnick said she was unfazed by the construction work.


"It’s not going to be detrimental to my experience. It’s no problem," Ptashnick said, before making a purchase and walking across the bridge with her husband and son.


"It’s nice to be able to go over the bridge and the ice cream is creamy and smooth. My husband and I first came here 40 years ago when we were dating. It’s an icon."


The city spokesperson said the first phase of construction on the bridge took place from January to June 2010 and involved repairs to the concrete piers that cost $380,000.


The second phase involved encapsulating a circular concrete pier in the river. It occurred between January and March 2011 and cost $300,000.

simon.fuller@canstarnews.com

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