A gas leak caused mayhem in Maitland on Wednesday.
Workers were performing maintenance on the gas main when it ruptured, causing gas to spill out into the area.
Reading Cinemas was evacuated along with other nearby businesses after. It is understood at least 100 people were safely evacuated from Maitland CBD.
The AGL gas company worked for hours to fix a leak on Ken Tubman Drive near the Maitland cinema.
The exclusion zone started at the roundabout near All Saints College, St Peter's Campus, and ends at the corner of Elgin Street and Ken Tubman Drive.
Hannah Turner was hoping to buy a kebab when she noticed the commotion.
She saw police and NSW Fire and Rescue crews at the intersection of High Street and Ken Tubman Drive and tape blocking entry to the strip.
"I didn't know what had happened," she said.
"Then I found out there was a gas leak.
"After a while you could smell it in the air."
A gas leak in Maitland CBD is causing gridlock as motorists try and negotiate road blocks with school traffic.
Ken Tubman Drive was closed east from Elgin Street from 3pm, with motorists sent past Maitland Public School.
The road block has caused traffic to bank up for several metres along High Street. Some motorists complained about the congestion and said the leak had happened just as school was finishing.
Police and emergency services remain at the scene.
Road closures are still in place in central Maitland as emergency services work to secure a gas leak.
Central Hunter police are currently managing a gas emergency in the centre of Maitland. Workmen in the area of the Reading Cinema complex accidentally ruptured a gas pipe which led to a natural gas leak.
Police have evacuated the Readings Cinema complex and surrounding businesses. There will be no pedestrian access in the areas around the Ken Tubman Drive complex and vehicle traffic between High Street and Church Street is being diverted.
Exclusions and diversions will be in place for some time. People are asked to avoid the area.
A gas line ruptured outside Reading Cinemas in Maitland CBD on Wednesday afternoon.
Police and firefighters are at the scene.
The leak occurred at the corner of Ken Tubman Drive and Church Street.
A tweet from NSW Fire and Rescue, just before 3pm,confirmed roads near the site have been blocked and people in the area have been evacuated.
Motorists are advised to avoid the area.
There are reports that Reading Cinema Maitland has been evacuated due to a gas leak.
More to come.