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This article was published 10/7/2019 (507 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
"My Confusion Corner commuters are cursing" is the opening lyric in the song Civil Twilight by the Weakerthans.
The 2007 song seems newly apt this week, as some Winnipeg drivers were likely cursing while attempting to navigate — without the benefit of traffic signals — the intersection that’s infamous for its complex web of turning ramps and transit-only lanes.
Confusion Corner stayed dark through Wednesday’s afternoon rush hour, with police continuing to direct heavy traffic as city and Manitoba Hydro crews worked to resolve the outage.
Hydro spokesman Bruce Owen said late Wednesday afternoon that crews had found the fault and hoped to have the traffic signals in full operation by early evening.
That would make the duration of the outage about 30 hours since, shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday, the lights at the junction of Osborne and Donald streets, McMillan Avenue and Pembina Highway went out. Winnipeg Police Service cadets arrived at the scene around 7:30 p.m to help drivers navigate the chaotic intersection.
One motorist who was on her way downtown during Tuesday’s storm said a cyclist decided to take matters into his own hands at Pembina and McMillan, abandoning his bike in front of a nearby store and directing traffic himself.
"When I went past, I rolled down my window a bit and said, ‘Thanks’ to the cyclist. He said, ‘No problem,’" the driver said.
Police could not provide an update Wednesday afternoon as to when the lights were expected to be fixed, but said two cadet units and one general patrol unit will stay at the scene until the situation is resolved.
On scene at lunch hour, traffic flowed down Pembina Highway, but was backed up bumper-to-bumper from Osborne Street down Donald Street all the way to River Avenue.
Bus rider Marcie O’Neill said despite the outage, any transit delays she experienced weren’t out of the ordinary.
"It’s usually kind of delayed around here around this time of the day," O’Neill said.
Owen, the Hydro spokesman, told the Free Press Hydro wanted to use generators to power the traffic signals while crews worked to find the root of the issue — but the city vetoed that decision, sticking with cadets directing traffic instead.
"Our recommendation was if generators are available, let’s use them," Owen said.
"It’s a temporary fix, but it allows us to continue our work and to do it correctly and safely... Despite all this, we are working with the city to correct the situation."
In an emailed statement to the Free Press, City of Winnipeg spokesman Ken Allen said the city is continuing to work with Hydro to restore power and diagnose the problem. Allen would not comment on whether Hydro asked the city to use generators.
Allen said a power outage affected seven Fort Garry intersections Tuesday, including Confusion Corner. Power was quickly restored to four of those intersections, and the city is continuing to work with Hydro to restore the remaining three, he said.
Allen said signal outages were also reported at Kenaston Boulevard and Tuxedo Avenue, Waverley Street and Lake Crest Road, Burland Avenue and St. Mary’s Road and Henderson Highway and Springfield Road, the last of which remained without power early Wednesday afternoon.
Allen said this many outages is still considered normal for rainy or dry conditions.
— with files from Nadya Pankiw