There are already major traffic delays at the border on day one of Queensland’s tough new travel restrictions.
The sunshine state’s hard borders were rebuilt overnight and checkpoints reinstated, with all of NSW now a declared COVID-19 hotspot.
The declaration kicked in at 1.00am this morning, banning the whole state from stepping foot into Queensland due to fears of the virus spreading.
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Residents living in the border zone, which takes in 17 local government areas, are allowed into Queensland using the border zone travel “X” pass, however strictly only for essential reasons.
At 6.45am on Friday, traffic was already gridlocked at the M1, Gold Coast Highway and Griffith Street checkpoints, with police stopping all vehicles to ensure they have the correct pass.
The M1 checkpoint appears to be the worst at this stage, with delays currently from Tugun all the way back to Tweed Heads.
Motorists are reporting wait times of up to one hour to get through that stretch.
The Gold Coast Highway is also heavily congested, with delays back to Kennedy Drive at the time of writing.
Police have warned the system will have teething problems and have urged all travellers to be patient.
“What we’re reaching out for the community to do this morning is very much the triple-p, so that’s looking at the pass, plan and patience,” Chief Superintendant Rhys Wildman told TODAY.
“Within the first two or three days, we always expect there to be some real challenges around traffic delays around all of our checkpoints, partly due to us embedding our checkpoint operations.”