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Dangerous conditions leave lanes closed around site of Pembina Highway high-rise blaze

Click to play video: 'Dangerous conditions leave lanes closed around site of Pembina Highway blaze' Dangerous conditions leave lanes closed around site of Pembina Highway blaze
Global's Erik Pindera speaks to Waverley West Coun. Janice Lukes about how dangerous conditions are causing delays in reopening parts of Pembina Highway following a massive building fire – Dec 31, 2019

Drivers are going to have to wait at least a week before traffic gets back to normal around the site of a massive building fire on Pembina Highway, according to the area’s city councillor.

Lanes on the major traffic artery have been closed since fire broke out at The Arc, a high-rise building under construction at the corner of Pembina Highway and Bison Drive, Dec. 21.

Lanes of Pembina Highway have been closed since fire tore through a building at the corner of Bison Drive Dec. 21. Global News

The blaze tore through the entire top floor and falling debris ignited another fire on the building’s third floor. Over 100 firefighters helped to battle the blaze, which took much of the day.

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The fire is out, but now the top floors are caked in ice and scaffolding is dangling from the edge.

READ MORE: Area councillor calls for local fire hall in light of high-rise blaze near U of M

Waverley West Coun. Janice Lukes says those dangerous conditions and the timing of the fire are causing delays in reopening the highway to traffic.

“They have to first conduct the investigation to see why the fire started before they can take the scaffolding down, and they can’t go up there yet because they have to make sure the concrete hasn’t been compromised,” she told Global News Tuesday.

“In the middle of it all are the holidays, Christmas and New Year’s. It’s probably taking longer than it would [otherwise].”
Waverley West Coun. Janice Lukes expects the lanes to remain closed until at least Jan. 7. Global News

While Lukes said she expects to see the lanes to reopen by Jan. 7, the city was unable to provide a firm timeline when reached by Global News.

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Lukes has previously told Global News the fire highlights the need for a new fire hall in the area.

She also says the fire could have ripple effects on the city’s already tight student housing market, with the high-rise’s new apartments likely delayed.

READ MORE: Crews battle large fire at Winnipeg building under construction

The building was intended to provide housing for more than 500 students at the nearby University of Manitoba.

“The company wanted to have it ready so students could start moving in before school starts in the fall,” Lukes said Tuesday.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to get delayed.”

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The construction firm behind the building, Ledcor, has said it will be working with the fire department and Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health to determine the cause of the fire and assess the damage.

The company said Tuesday it wasn’t able to provide any more details on the damage or any delays to their building plans at the moment.

Click to play video: 'Crews battle large fire at Winnipeg building under construction' Crews battle large fire at Winnipeg building under construction
Crews battle large fire at Winnipeg building under construction – Dec 21, 2019

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