Tauranga CBD's main dining precinct was closed for several hours today after a smell of gas pervaded the area.

Tauranga City Council advised just after 10.30am that it had shut off vehicle access to The Strand and several surrounding streets due to a suspected gas leak.

The council advised people to stay clear of the area until the problem was resolved.

The road was not reopened until mid-afternoon when a leak to an underground gas pipe at the corner of The Strand and Hamilton St was located and repaired by First Gas.


A reporter on the scene in the morning said the gas smell was "strong".

A fire crew was called to investigate and firefighters were seen walking around wearing breathing apparatus and lifting manhole covers.

Fire Service shift commander Paul Radden said firefighters were called to the scene at 9.45am after a report of a gas smell.

"There are seven road closures with vehicle and pedestrian access closed as a precaution while we look into this."

Traffic management staff were stopping cars from entering the area.

Eateries on the affected intersection - the Cornerstone pub and Brooklyn Patio and Eatery were closed while the leak was investigated.

Brooklyn manager Laurent De Bourgues said they had missed the lunchtime custom but reopened in time for evening diners.

Darryl Herbert, owner of Tauranga Central Backpackers on the corner of Willow St and Harrington St, said there were "firefighters with breathing apparatus wandering around".


He said there was no gas smell near his building and his staff and guests had not been asked to evacuate.