A portion of Loop 323 became the Le Brea Tar Pits of Tyler for more than a dozen motorists who found their vehicles unable or unsafe to drive after becoming stuck in thick tar on Friday.
“The heavy rain washed a ton of the rock away leaving just the tar, and oil and water doesn't mix,” he said.
The company doing the work, Big Creek Construction, also fell victim when one of the company work trucks and a trailer drove into the tar. Part of the driver's side fender was torn off the front of the vehicle, and crew members were using shovels in attempt to remove enough tar to move the truck.
Big Creek Construction Risk Manager Carol Stone fielded calls Friday afternoon from angry motorists.
“We don't really have a comment at this time as we are still assessing the situation,” she said.
Ms. Stone did say her company was working with anyone who may have had damage to their vehicle.
A Tyler police patrol unit was one of the vehicles that had to be towed from the scene because the tar was so thick the wheels did not easily rotate, leaving the car sitting in a pool of black sticky goo.
Maria Cortez said she was on her way back to work at Carrier Warehouse on Robertson Road when she drove into the tar.
“I was sliding and I thought my tires blew. I can walk back to work, but I have to get back to Quitman somehow after work,” she said.
Ms. Cortez held her head in her hands as she looked at the white Dodge Caliber covered in the tar. Underneath the vehicle, the tar had torn the plastic sheathing from around the fender wells.
While motorists with the most damage waited for tow trucks, others with less damage learned who to contact and left the scene.
Tyler police urged motorists to avoid the section of roadway if possible because only one northbound lane of traffic was open.
Anyone who may have had vehicle damage because of the tar in the section of road Friday can contact Ms. Stone at 254-857-3200.