‘Expect delays’: Traffic troubles as state shuns Sydney
BUCKLE up, a Sydney-sized headache is on its way.
Police are already foreshadowing extensive delays with community expectations of traffic jams stretching kilometres at the Queensland-NSW border from Saturday as police do their best to block any of the 5.3 million Sydneysiders who might want to flee the southern coronavirus hotspot from entering the state.
Traffic has been flowing through the border blockade relatively smoothly, with varying delays, in stark contrast to the chaos seen when Queensland reopened its border to all travellers but Victorians on July 10. At the time, Tweed Byron police warned travellers to pack snacks and enough water amid frustrating wait times.
On Wednesday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Queensland would close its border to people from Greater Sydney from 1am on Saturday. Residents dashing home from the 34 local authority areas within Greater Sydney will be forced to isolate in a hotel for 14 days at their own expense.
The Queensland Police Service has been asked whether random interceptions will ramp up at the border or have already increased, considering new coronavirus cases linked to women travelling home from Melbourne via Sydney who allegedly lied about their whereabouts.
The Bulletin also asked whether officers would stop each and every NSW-plated vehicle, what delays were anticipated and how motorists could make things easier for themselves and police.
Police said in a statement: "With the new hotspot being added, cross-border residents should update their border pass to help reduce delays at police border checkpoints, where vehicles displaying older passes, particularly those with NSW registration plates, will likely be intercepted.
"Police will continue to conduct interceptions of those progressing through priority passage to ensure the validity of declarations.
"The border restriction changes may cause delays at police border checkpoints and those travelling into Queensland are being urged to exercise patience and factor likely delays into their travel schedule."
By Thursday afternoon officers had issued 20 infringement notices to people who had failed to comply with the Queensland border direction.
Anyone entering Queensland must fill out a Queensland border declaration pass.
Providing false information or entering Queensland unlawfully can result in a $4003 fine.
Originally published as 'Expect delays': Traffic troubles as state shuns Sydney