Transportation officials say fixing the problem isn't as easy as it sounds.

In bad weather, drivers rely on highway lights to help guide them, but motorists on many interstates in Monroe County have probably noticed that several of those lights are out.

While those lights are located along state highways, the county Department of Transportation is responsible for funding and maintaining them within the county borders. Transportation officials said that compared to previous years, there are actually fewer burned-out lights this season.

Transportation crews are continuously doing repairs and maintenance, but drivers said the problem still needs to be fixed sooner and they're tired of being left in the dark.

Bradley Zawacki of Webster drives through a section of Route 490 everyday to get to and from work. Many of those lights, which are supposed to be illuminating the roadway for drivers like him, are out.

"In the winter time, you never know what's in front of you, especially if it's dark, (since) it's harder to see stuff on the side of the road," Zawacki said.

He knows it is a safety concern.

"Why not fix them?" he said. "Why are they out, really? We pay plenty of tax money for the highway and everything."

Terrence Rice, the director of the county Department of Transportation, has an answer.

"I would say, if it's one light they're probably right because where we try to get it where the biggest bang for the buck is, and where we have more lights out,” Rice said. “If it's many lights out all in one system, correcting that problem will solve 15 to 30 lights."

Right now, only 3 percent of about 4,600 lights in the county are out, compared to 14 percent this time last year, Rice said.

Winter weather dictates when repairs can be made.

"The contractor has to go out to kind of find out where the problem really is, and can it be easily fixed?” Rice said. “Now, fortunately, for the most part, we're off on the shoulder of the road or away from traffic a little bit, but they're working in some tough, tough places out there. In the winter it's just very difficult to do."

In some cases it's not just a burned-out light bulb that’s the problem. The infrastructure may be old and in need of repair, or even replacement. Some poles will stay, but replacing others is something that is in the Department of Transportation's plans.

"We'll be doing some rehabilitation and then putting in some new poles," Rice said. "We'll be putting [in] the LED, which are much more energy-efficient lighting up there. A remote system will be able to monitor how the lighting is, and when they're off."

County officials said the rehabilitation plan should be finished within the next six or seven years, and comes with a $24 million price tag.