Residents of Albury-Wodonga and other Murray River communities have been put on notice to prepare for 72 hours of pain in response to the Victoria-NSW border closure from midnight Tuesday.
A massive logistical exercise involving 500 NSW Police officers and 350 Australian Defence Force personnel will be involved in creating border checkpoints at 55 crossing places in coming days with the Hume Freeway and Lincoln Causeway among those to have the biggest operations to monitor interstate travel.
But NSW Police Minister David Elliott and Police Commissioner Mick Fuller conceded there would be challenges in the initial stages of the closures which could last more than a month.
"The next 72 hours, from midnight, there will be challenges," Mr Fuller said.
"We would ask if you don't have to cross the border please don't. It will be the most challenging phase of the operation, particularly while we are working through the exemptions, while we are setting up the infrastructure, while we are trying to get it right.
"We have to work with the bridges and roads that are in place."
Border communities such as Albury-Wodonga were being treated differently to other parts of the state, but their arrangements were causing delays to finalising the health orders and also holding up the ability to apply for an exemption via Service NSW.
"The delay in the health orders being finished is (because) we are trying to strike a good balance for those local communities knowing full well people cross the border every day for health, employment and education and many, many other reasons," Mr Fuller said.
"That bubble or those postcodes will be seen differently to other Victorians.
"We will make it easier for them to travel across, but they will need an exemption."
Mr Fuller said it was "more than likely" Albury-Wodonga residents would only need to apply for a single exemption for the entire closure period.
"We will let you know once that information is up on the NSW government website," he said.
"If there is failure with technology and you need to cross the border (in the next few days) you should approach police and explain the situation and we will work with you.
"In time, it will be a simple system that has worked in Queensland."
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Scott Whyte arrived in Albury on Tuesday afternoon to oversee the massive operation locally.
There are also 29 "Tier B" roads, where there will be greater delays for people trying to cross, and 20 other dirt tracks which will be patrolled with drones.
Mr Fuller said police would have the power to issue on the spot fines for people crossing without an exemption, and those who are found to be lying on their application forms will also face significant fines.
"We're not stopping people from going into Victoria," he said.
"But the reality is if you go there and you need to come back, you'll need to apply and go into 14 days self-isolation."
Mr Elliott said no stone was being left unturned in setting up the operation.
"I am confident that everything that can be done is being done," he said.
"People shouldn't assume that it is all going to be focused on Albury-Wodonga.
"If you want to do the wrong thing you will be caught."