A high-pressure gas main in Sydney's CBD was ruptured by an excavator working on the Sydney Metro rail project. The excavator involved was operated by a third-party contractor.
Danger of explosion exists. Transport Minister Andrew Constance on Saturday admitted that a "very serious" incident occurred. A 200-meters exclusion zone established by Fire and Rescue NSW on Friday night around the street-level gas main is expected to start dropping down. "Unless there are any unforeseen things, it's expected to be wrapped up by midnight with the majority of the exclusion zone to start dropping down from then," Fire and Rescue NSW acting Inspector Greg Purvis told media on Saturday.
The leak emitted a strong smell and deafening hissing sound, and a number of commercial buildings were evacuated with police and Hazmat crews brought in to assist. Jemena, the gas company with carriage of the pipe, has a team of 20 specialists working on the issue. Castlereagh Street, Elizabeth Street and Phillip Street have been closed between Hunter and King Streets since the leak began about 10.30pm on Friday, while Macquarie Street has reopened. Trains will continue to run on the Eastern Suburbs line but won't stop at Martin Place, and local buses are being diverted. The City Circle train line is not running this weekend because of trackwork. David Wright from the Transport Management Center said people should avoid the area.