CBD lockdown as gas leak sparks city evacuation
LARGE parts of Sydney's CBD have been shut down, Martin Place train station closed, buses diverted and residents evacuated after a major gas leak overnight in the heart of the city.
Police said Castlereagh Street, Elizabeth Street and Phillip Street Street have been closed between Hunter and King Streets while Macquarie Street is closed between Hunter St and James Rd until further notice.
Emergency services were alerted to a gaseous smell and a deafening noise by pedestrians in Martin Place at around 11pm on Friday night.
Emergency teams were seen wearing earplugs as they approached the leak site, with the piercing noise audible from as far away as Macquarie St.
One woman was seen huddling with her two children on a nearby memorial after being evacuated from their apartment.
"This noise woke us all up," she said. "The smell was just horrible."
According to on-scene emergency response crews, the leak occurred after construction workers hit a major gas pipe located under a thin layer of asphalt near Martin Place and Castlereagh St.
Fire and Rescue NSW are understood to be currently working alongside gas company Jemena to divert Sydney's gas to the western side of the city, however this has been made difficult due to the large amount of pressure in gas pipes around the CBD.
Emergency services are also struggling to get close to the source of the leak due to the deafening sound. One Jemena employee said that the atmospheric pressure around the leak is ten times greater than usual.
As a result, emergency services fear that the leak could take days to resolve.
Castlereagh St, Phillip St and Elizabeth St are currently closed in both directions. Martin Place is also currently inaccessible to pedestrians.
Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra Line trains are running again after being suspended earlier in the night. Martin Place Station remains closed.