The end of the long weekend has come with massive traffic delays in Queensland with motorists returning to Brisbane told to add up to 30 minutes to their journeys.
Southbound travellers from the Sunshine Coast are reporting 30-minute delays, with traffic currently at a crawl on the Bruce Highway between Coochin Creek to Elimbah, and extensive congestion from Tanawha to Palmview.
It comes as Queensland police urged holiday-makers on Monday morning to plan ahead as heavy traffic queues were anticipated as the long weekend came to a close.
The Gold Coast’s top cop warned the thousands of people expected to cross the Queensland/NSW border on Monday to ensure they have an X-Pass after reports 60 per cent of motorists have had to be pulled aside since the border zone was extended on Thursday.
Since 1am on Thursday, Queenslanders and 152,000 northern NSW residents have been able to cross the border freely, provided they had a border declaration pass that stipulated they had not been further south than Glen Innes, Ballina or Lismore.
Chief Superintendent Mark Wheeler told Today on Monday morning he anticipated traffic to peak during the afternoon.
“People need to plan ahead, make sure you have an X-Pass … and display it when you come through,” he said.
Supt Wheeler said police were coping without ADF support after 60 troops were pulled from the border on Wednesday.
“That has been supplemented with additional police from outside this district,” he said.
“But the way the roads are constructed, we have to filter two lanes into one which creates a bottleneck.
“We can throw more resources, but the way we filter has to slow down traffic and, of course, that will mean delays.”
Queensland is expected to open up to NSW from November 1, provided the southern state has had no community-transmission cases for 28 days. The state has had no cases outside of hotel quarantine for eight days.
Supt Wheeler said police were reviewing their processes for what that would mean.
“That’s millions more people eligible to come in,” he said.
“If we need some more resources we will ask, but people have to understand there will still be delays.”