A number of buildings in downtown Vancouver were evacuated shortly after 11 a.m. Monday after a construction worker accidentally severed a major a gas line close to a busy intersection.

A project manager for the Telus Garden building, which is still under construction at Robson and Richards streets, told CTV News a contractor ended up rupturing a gas line while doing some routine work in the alley.

"One of the excavators was doing some work in the back alley and they were digging up an abandoned gas line which hooked onto an active gas line," said Vancouver Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Terry Nikolai.

Residents in some buildings said they could smell a strong gas odour.

A number of people were evacuated from residential and commercial buildings along Robson Street from Granville Street to Homer Street.

Police and fire crews blocked off traffic coming through the area and laid down water lines as a precaution.

Fortis BC and firefighters conducted a sweep of some nearby buildings to make sure that no gas has been trapped or captured.

High-powered fans were brought in after gas was detected in several buildings.

The main gas line has been shut down and natural gas service is expected to resume mid-afternoon.