Only £1 per sign to keep Suffolk’s road signs clear says new council report

Why are some road signs difficult to see? Because just over �1 per sign per year is spent on their m

Why are some road signs difficult to see? Because just over �1 per sign per year is spent on their maintenance. File picture: SIMON PARKER

If you’ve ever been frustrated by struggling to see the directions on a dirty Suffolk road sign, don’t be too surprised – the county council spends just over £1 per sign per year on keeping them up to scratch!

Jane Storey. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jane Storey. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

The council’s scrutiny committee is next week looking at a survey into the public perception of Suffolk’s roads – and the state of the county’s road signs is one of the key elements.

Public satisfaction in that has fallen over the year, but the officers point out that the county only allocates £121,000 to maintain its 102,000 road signs. Of that £96,000 is allocated to cleaning signs and £25,000 to other maintenance.

The report says: “Signs cannot be cleaned for less than £1 each – any such work is targeted to specific locations with the budget currently available.”

The report also shows that while drivers were no less satisfied with road surfaces than they had been the previous year, cyclists did feel they had got worse.

However keen walkers felt rights of way had improved. The report suggests this could be because more people are now walking as a hobby and discovering the delights of the Suffolk countryside.

The report will be debated by the county’s scrutiny committee on Tuesday.

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County Council deputy leader Jane Storey admitted money was tight, but it was important to hear what road-users thought: “Seeking feedback from residents is something we really value to help us develop and deliver an effective highways service in Suffolk.

“These results demonstrate a few areas of potential focus where there’s a perception that more could be done, but overall there is no major change in satisfaction.

“Recent projects in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich demonstrate that we are delivering improvements on time and on budget, without causing undue disruption, despite initial fears from some areas of the community.

“We are increasingly stretched financially across the whole organisation and we need to make every penny count.

“There is always maintenance work progressing through each season but the perception may be that it is not as fast as people wish. In these cases we need to communicate how we focus our time and help people understand how our work is undertaken.”