TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Ice that covered East Texas roads this week is melting away, leaving behind flat tires and a lot of questions.
Repair shops say black rocks have punctured hundreds of tires on vehicles being driven within the city of Tyler. The rocks are part of a mixture the city purchased to help drivers keep traction on icy roads.
Tyler resident Greg Murphy was at a repair shop on South Broadway.
"I want to be safe. I want my neighbors to be safe; but also, they need to pay attention to what they're putting on the roads to build traction. I'm not the only one that's been in here today," Murphy said as he held a chunk of black rock that was removed from a tire on his wife's car.
When icy conditions made it hard for drivers to get around Tyler on Tuesday, the city began treating the roads with a material meant to provide traction on icy roads.
Scott Taylor, public works director for the City of Tyler, explained that the substance is called "slag."
"It's a mixture of what is called slag, which is a byproduct from the generation of pipe material. It came from Tyler pipe, it's crushed and we blend it with sand and we spread that out," Taylor said.
Purchased at a low price, Taylor said he believes the city has been using it for years.
When icy weather is in the forecast, road crews spread a substance called brine, a salt mixture that keeps ice and snow from sticking on roadways. With wind chill temperatures in the single digits this week, something additional was needed to help drivers keep traction.
Taylor said the city was unaware the substance could cause tire damage, and they are reviewing the decision to use the material.
"We're actively sweeping right now; we've got four sweepers working today, and we'll sweep on Saturdays to get the streets as clean as we can and as quickly as we can."
About 345 yards of the material was laid out on major roads within the city, according to a press release.
Taylor says he appreciates the city's effort to keep drivers safe during icy weather.
"They just need to be aware that when they put stuff out on the road for traction, it needs to be something that's compatible with tires. It needs to give traction, but it doesn't need to tear the tires up," Taylor said.
Anyone with tire damage believed to have been caused by the debris is asked to contact the city.
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