By Brian Deakyne
Several things have improved since Monday when Hurricane Sandy left her vicious mark in the Two River area, but one thing definitely hasn’t gotten better.
As of Friday afternoon, lines at gasoline stations were still miles long, leaving some residents distraught after sitting for hours and still far to go.
“I went to get gas at the Wawa in Leonardo and was waiting for four hours,” said John Sykes of Atlantic Highlands. “I was waiting in my car, and they told me the car wait was longer, so I got out of my car and stood there” with gas cans.
Some residents have suggested getting gas at odd hours, such as in the middle of the night, hoping that the lines might be less crowded and the wait would be shorter.
While many residents were angry about the wait, Sykes noted that some people had joined together during the hour-long wait.
“Surprisingly, people were in good spirits. They had State Troopers controlling the area, so it was pretty crazy,” he said.
Many gasoline stations were closed down on Friday. Some never opened after the hurricane, others ran out of gas after begin able to open shortly after roads were re-opened Wednesday and Thursday.
“I got pretty lucky, actually,” said Mary Chamerblin of Little Silver. “I had to get gas on (Thursday and Friday) and I never waited longer than an hour for either one.”
Like practically everyone else on the line, Chamberlin had to get gas for two different things, her car and a generator. Also like others, she said her car was running on fumes by the time she reached the pump. She got gas at the BP gasoline station in West Long Branch and the Wawa in Tinton Falls.
One of the few open stations Friday afternoon was the Shell Gas Station on Shrewsbury Avenue. At one point the line stretched from the station at the corner of Newman Springs Road all the way to the Red Bank railroad station. That forced police officers to divert other traffic to side streets and direct those trying to get into the gas line.
Some residents, who did not want to give their names, were angry that so few gasoline stations were open four days after the hurricane. They were also unhappy that some stations ran out of gas even through they sat in line for hours.
Throughout Red Bank and sections of Middletown, traffic was snarled as many people searched for gas that will be hard to come until power is restored.
The Exxon station on Shrewsbury Avenue, across the street from Shell station, was closed Friday, along with the Exxon station and BP station at the corner of Swimming River and Newman Springs roads in Middletown.
“I’m surprised a lot more gas stations don’t have generators to get going,” Sykes said. “They could be making bank.”