Growing Gas Lines Create Greenwich Gridlock

Drivers from as far as New Jersey coming to Greenwich in search of gasoline.


With the long queues of motorists, honking horns and blocked intersections, one would think it was a few days before Christmas with the perennial Greenwich gridlock of last-minute shoppers.

But the long lines of cars are motorists—some with short tempers—in search of gasoline. With regional gas supplies depleted, many stations out of gasoline or station closed because they don't have power, drivers from New York and New Jersey are flooding Greenwich in search of fuel.

Judy Moretti, co-owner of Putnam Shell on West Putnam Avenue said she ran out of gasoline about 11 a.m. Thursday, and had only 1,500 gallons of diesel.  Despite an confirmed delivery for 4 a.m. Thursday, she was still waiting for it about 8 p.m. Thursday, Moretti said.

The Coast Guard had not released the barges and flooding issues in major ports including Bridgeport and New Haven apparently are preventing barges from arriving, Moretti said.

"People are coming from New York and New Jersey. They're on a half-tank are really upset," Moretti said. Some drivers were filling several gas cans and putting them in the cars, she said. "They feel so crippled without it."

What's adding to the wait in line, Moretti said, are "People from New Jersey where they don't have self-serve stations ... we needed to teach people lessons on how to dispense with the nozzle." Motorists also are in search of firewood and propane gas tanks. Moretti said she sold 50 bundles of wood in little more than a day and 20 tanks of propane on Thursday.

Greenwich Police are monitoring the lines and directing traffic at stations located at major intersections. On Thursday afternoon, eastbound motorists on West Putnam Avenue waited through 6 traffic light cycles to pass through the intersection with Weaver Street.

Overnight Thursday, officers directed drivers to other stations where gas was available. Friday morning, officers continued their efforts advising the emergency dispatch center of the number of cars lined up waiting to get their fill of petrol.

About 7 a.m. there about 30 cars lined up along West Putnam Avenue to get gas at the Putnam Shell Station; about 30 waited for the LeMans Citgo station on East Putnam Avenue in Cos Cob, and another station in Riverside ran out of gas, according to radio transmissions.


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