Quickest route to travel over the Qld border
Planning to pass the queue-plagued Tweed-Coolangatta border when it reopens on Friday to everyone except Victorians? Unfortunately there isn't one better route than any other.
On Tuesday I timed how long it took to cross all three borders near Coolangatta during mid-afternoon and heading into peak traffic times.
Each trip was waved through by police as I had the new Queensland Border Declaration Pass - the one with the letter G - on my dash.
The first trip along the Gold Coast highway saw traffic banked up straight after exiting the Tweed/ Coolangatta M1 southbound exit at 3.20pm.
It took 20 minutes to travel 1.5km.
The second trip was through Coolangatta, near the Queensland-NSW border statue, at 3.55pm. It was gridlock from Tweed Heads Bowls Club to the border.
It took 25 minutes to go 800m.
Congestion at lights near Tweed Mall and Twin Towns made it problematic.
Cars were trying to turn into lanes already blocked by people going straight ahead, with four cars pushing to get into two lanes.
The third trip was across the border via the M1. I thought it would be the worst as earlier - on Saturday and Sunday morning - I'd headed down south over the border and witnessed shocking traffic.
I dodged it on return by swiftly passing via Coolangatta, which on Tuesday was by far the worst route.
Motorists were banked back past Gold Coast Airport in the northbound lanes.
It took slightly over 12 minutes to travel 2.1km at 5pm. And it didn't seem like I went through at the worst time. A woman driving from Brunswick in Northern NSW to work several times a week says she had been "trying to avoid" the M1.
"On the M1 it usually takes half an hour to get through but I've had friends say it has taken 45-minutes to an hour sometimes during peak time," she said.
"If you go off the highway to the (Gold Coast highway) at Tugun, it can sometimes be a bit quicker but it just depends on time of the day."
Another woman said a typical 11-minute trip from Tweed to Currumbin Waters took her 55-minutes, going at a crawl on Monday.
It will be interesting to see how travel times compare from Friday - when Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned there will still be "long delays" - but no "chaos and confusion" around the pass requirements.
DUMMY'S GUIDE TO NEW BORDER DECLARATION PASS
• Passes introduced last Friday only last seven days and need to be filled out and printed again. A new recreational pass will be added this Friday.
• It will be the fourth change to the system since the border closed in March.
• If you are travelling over it is advised to allow extra travel time, but there are some things you can do to speed up the wait such as have your new "G" Qld border declaration pass printed and on your dash.
• Failure to comply with quarantine directions and border restrictions can mean fines of $1334 for individuals and $6672 for corporations.
• Providing false information on the declaration or entering Queensland unlawfully could result in a $4003 fine.
• The Queensland Entry Declaration is at www.qld.gov.au/border-pass and valid for seven days.
• To be eligible for a Queensland Border Declaration Pass you need to
- visit www.qld.gov.au/border-pass.
- select one of the 24 categories.
- select if in the past 14 days you've been: overseas, been to a COVID hotspot or been in contact with someone with COVID or had COVID or symptoms.
- if eligible, it will prompt you to fill out your details from name, address, and contact details.
- within minutes the pass will be sent to your email address and is ready to be printed and put on the dashboard of your vehicle.
- the pass lasts seven days from the date you applied. The current rules are you will need to reapply for another one within the next seven days but it may be changed again during the border opening on Friday.
Originally published as Quickest route to travel over the Qld border