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Broken Electronic Message Signs An Eyesore On I-35

Updated: Tuesday, July 29 2014, 03:53 PM CDT

The Texas Department of Transportation's Dynamic Message Boards are the signs Texas counts on when a child is abducted, a senior citizen is reported missing or there's a major weather alert. But, some signs on I-35 are hard, if not impossible, to read. 


When a child goes missing Amber Alerts flash along Texas highways. But, take a drive on I-35 between Austin and San Antonio and the messages designed to bring kids home are starting to get lost. 


"We do feel like they were good for their time," said Mark Cross. 


Cross has worked for TxDOT since the dynamic message boards were first installed. 


"Probably between 10 to 15 years old," said Cross. 


This summer, missing letters and hard-to-read words are the norm between the two cities. 


"That is the age and the wear and tear," said Cross. "These are the first generation of these signs." 


The second generation is on order. The cost of each new electronic sign is about $50,000. That price does not include installation, software or maintenance.


"We also hope the technology is there that will help them age maybe a little bit better," said Cross. 


TxDOT is now focusing on the I-35 corridor. Taking an eyesore and trying to make it a better reflection on Texas. 


"They've just aged. And it's now time to replace that technology," said Cross. 


TxDOT just signed a contract with a new manufacturer to replace and install the dynamic message boards. But, it could be next year before drivers see them hovering above the interstate.

By Bettie Cross

Broken Electronic Message Signs An Eyesore On I-35


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