A gas leak near the Sydney Opera House has forced the evacuation of the building and the closure of Macquarie Street at Bridge Street in both directions.

The gas leak is located at 1 Macquarie Street. While the shutdown has had minimal impact on traffic so far, it has forced the evacuation of 500 people from the concourse and adjoining restaurants, including Aria and Opera Bar.

A spokesperson for Fire and Rescue NSW told Broadsheet the leak had been caused by construction workers digging in the area who accidentally “nipped a gas line”.

The spokesperson says the local gas company is working on clamping off the leak and switching off the gas. The company estimates that it will take “about one hour to seal and steady the leak”, according to the spokesperson.

Firefighters are also on-site monitoring the atmosphere for gas levels. “Natural gas doesn’t rise so the threat is not as dangerous as [with a gas such as] LPG,” the spokesperson says.

A spokesperson for the Opera House said in a statement that all performances tonight should go ahead as planned, and that pedestrian access is available via the Royal Botanic Garden.