Trafiic tailbacks built up around entrances to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast at rush hour this morning after the Broadway exit to the Westlink was closed due to a huge fire.
A derelict building on the hospital site was due to be demolished today following a blaze which started yesterday evening.
The decision came after an inspection by structural engineers, and the hospital said it hoped the Broadway exit will be reopened to traffic by tomorrow morning.
This morning, staff arriving at the hospital said the traffic was busy with tailbacks onto the Westlink after police blocked off the usual exit.
“If you’re coming off the Westlink there is no access at Broadway – the reason for that is that the building that was on fire poses a risk to pedestrians or vehicles if it collapses,” said a staff member.
This morning motorists heading for Broadway were advised to divert to the Grosvenor exit. Traffic queues were reported at both the Millhouse and Grosvenor exits this morning.
A hospital spokesperson said: “The building is being demolished today. If all goes well the Broadway entrance should be clear and open tomorrow morning. People accessing the hospital today are advised to use the Grosvenor exit.”
Nursing staff evacuated overnight due to the risk of smoke inhalation were allowed to return to their homes this morning.
A Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said part of the Royal building had been well alight, with smoke engulfing the Grosvenor Tower.
“We got everyone out as there was a lot of smoke blowing in through windows,” he said.
“It would have been upwards of 100 people.There were around 70 firefighters on the scene.”
The spokesman said the roof had completely gone and the building appeared likely to collapse so no firefighters could be allowed inside to battle the blaze.
“Most of the people taken out of their homes were foreign nationals working a the Royal Hospital.”
Elsewhere in the city, Laganbank Road was closed following flooding under the railway bridge.