SAN ANTONIO -

Since the first Transguide signs went up in 1995, there have been at least 150 more erected -- bringing the total cost to purchase and install them at nearly $12.5 million.

"I thought it was the greatest thing that they could put up there so they could let us know when there's traffic out there and merge left, merge right, whatever," said motorist Jose Garcia.

Despite the benefits of the signs, many drivers have been disappointed over the years -- primarily by a perceived lack of utility.

"As far as traffic alerts, those aren't always up to date," said motorist Daniel Gomez.

"The majority of the signs that I see out there, they're not even on -- even the arrows to let you know to merge and stuff -- none of that is on," Garcia said.

The most common complaint is driving by a blank message board when there's been an accident.

"If they let you know (that) there's an accident, you might try an alternate route," said driver Kyle Claymore

Most people agree using the signs for AMBER Alerts is a good use of the technology, as well as traffic and congestion alerts.

Gomez said he thinks more consideration should be paid to the timing of the messages.

"The 'drink and drive' sign, I guess people think that's very pertinent during the daytime, but I don't think that's very relevant," Gomez said.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, as many as 20 percent of the signs are not working.

However, they refused to share documents about how much money has been spent on repairs.

They also refused to do an interview with the KSAT Defenders, instead sending a statement explaining TxDOT is prioritizing resources and is choosing to put dollars first toward pavement and bridges to preserve public safety.

"It would be nice if they were on all the time, even if it's letting you know that there's good traffic ahead," Claymore said.

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