A petition denouncing the state of Suffolk roads has reached more than 1,600 signatures, as highways teams called this year the "most challenging operational period ever". 

The petition, which is aimed at Suffolk County Council and the Department for Transport and has garnered more than 1,600 signatures since it was started on Monday, February 19, is calling for comprehensive repairs on existing roadways, as well as the implementation of suitable drainage systems.

In a statement alongside the petition, Phil Robson, from Norton near Bury St Edmunds, who launched it, said poorly maintained roads and inadequate drainage systems were resulting in cars being damaged.

He added: “Suffolk’s road network is vital for our daily lives – for commuting to work or school, visiting family and friends, or accessing healthcare and other services.

“It is unacceptable that we should face such issues due to lack of proper maintenance.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Trinity Avenue in Mildenhall has been dubbed 'Pothole Avenue''Trinity Avenue in Mildenhall has been dubbed 'Pothole Avenue'' (Image: Karl Brown)

A March 2023 report released by the Asphalt Industry Alliance revealed 18% of roads across England and Wales had less than five years of life remaining, with nearly a third having between five and 15 years.

In Suffolk, the council’s budget, approved earlier this month, included a £48.2million capital investment into Suffolk’s highways for the next financial year, amounting to £197m over the next five years, the bulk of which was put toward maintenance.

Many who signed the petition shared their concerns with driving through Suffolk roads, particularly as many have become flooded, making them effectively invisible when driving.

A signatory to the petition said: “My sister suffered head injuries due to being thrown from her bike after hitting a pothole.

“Roads in poor repair risk causing injury, potentially death and deter people from taking the greener option of using bikes on our roads.”

This comes after Storm Babet saw nearly two months' worth of rain fall in 24 hours, and subsequent storms have led the Met Office to describe this month as the wettest January on record since 1836. 

READ MORE: Mildenhall Trinity Avenue dubbed 'Pothole Avenue' by sign

Suffolk Highways has said it has seen an 82% increase in requests for action on the highway - with 18,000 additional customer reports so far during the 2023/24 financial year.

East Anglian Daily Times: Compiegne Way in Bury St Edmunds during flooding at the start of the yearCompiegne Way in Bury St Edmunds during flooding at the start of the year (Image: Charlotte Bond)

According to the authority, the number of drainage and flooding issues have increased by 364% in the last five months, when compared to the same period in 2022/23.

The authority responded to 2,117 emergency incidents in the same period, which represents a 64% increase on last year.

Suffolk Highways added that, despite challenges, they have completed 34% more repairs to potholes in 2023/24 when compared with the previous year.

Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Ipswich, operational highways and flooding, said: "The extremes of weather we have witnessed across the county since October is like nothing we have experienced before.

"The rainfall has been heavy, relentless and unforgiving.

"Much like other local authorities up and down the country, this weather has presented us with some unprecedented challenges, especially when it comes to maintaining the highway network – despite this, Suffolk is rising to the challenge.

East Anglian Daily Times: Paul West, cabinet member for Ipswich, operational highways and floodingPaul West, cabinet member for Ipswich, operational highways and flooding (Image: SCC)

"It is clear from the statistics that highways teams are doing more than ever before, working harder and faster, resulting in more pothole repairs and more drainage issues resolved.

"Unfortunately, the demand outweighs the progress we are making so there continues to be much to do.

"I want to reassure Suffolk’s residents that we are doing everything we can to ensure the highway network is being maintained to a safe standard, however during this time I ask that residents take extra care when travelling and report any issues you spot to us.

"I also want to thank residents for their patience and understanding during this time."