Traffic is at a standstill on many of the main highways near Brisbane as people try to both enter and leave the city, before lockdown begins at 6pm.
At 8am, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands is going into a three-day lockdown after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel in the city contracted the UK mutant strain of coronavirus.
Just two hours after her announcement, traffic began building in both directions on the Bruce Highway, heading to the Sunshine Coast.
The RACQ has had reports of lines of cars on the M1 heading to the Gold Coast, and northbound on the Gateway Motorway, calling it “bumper-to-bumper” conditions.
There is congestion around Springwood, Loganholme, Coomera and Helensvale.
The chaos is compounded by wet weather.
Police blitz to catch those leaving Brisbane
The gridlock conditions have significantly worsened throughout the day as people try to flock to the Gold and Sunshine coasts to avoid the lockdown in Brisbane.
That is despite a clear directive from the state’s Chief Health Officer that Greater Brisbane residents must stay at home for the weekend.
Sunshine and Gold Coast police are warning of a blitz on all major highways, which involves technology that can pick up number plates registered to Brisbane homes.
Officers will also be patrolling beaches and other popular tourist spots on the coast to make sure people aren’t defying the lockdown rules.