Road signs in a shocking state - and all because of money

Rusted and broken - it's a similar story for many of Suffolk's road signs

Rusted and broken - it's a similar story for many of Suffolk's road signs - Credit: MARK MURPHY

On long car journeys when I was young boy, we used to play various games to keep us from getting bored. The obligatory 'I Spy' worked well and we’d also look out for new registrations every August.

Even today when my wife Lesley and I are on a lengthy road trip we often play spot the yellow car and gleefully shout out every time we see one.

Now I’ve got a new game for you and you shouldn’t have any trouble doing it especially in Suffolk. We can all now play spot the broken or dirty road sign because they are literally everywhere.

It’s been a big topic on my BBC Radio Suffolk breakfast show in recent days and the phonelines were red hot.

Callers were highlighting signs that were fallen, dirty or covered by bushes and overgrown trees with the calls coming in from across Suffolk.


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I first noticed it was an issue at my in-laws in Orford. The sign near their house which pointed to Sudbourne rusted completely through and ended up just lying on the floor. It was there for ages and then disappeared completely.

It reminded me of the war when road signs were taken down in case Hitler invaded the country. The idea was in the days before Sat Nav they wouldn’t have a clue where to go! We did wonder if Suffolk County Council had got wind of some imminent invasion from the French. I know Monsieur Macron is not particularly happy with us at the moment but I’m pretty sure we’ll not be repelling him from our Suffolk beaches anytime soon.

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The real reason our signs are in such a shocking state is yes, you’ve guessed it, money.

I spoke to the Suffolk County councillor with responsibility for road signs and he said they simply have to prioritise where they spend our cash. Paul West told me the priorities are potholes and potholes plus some flooding issues.

I drove on the A12 from Ipswich to Lowestoft and back again on Thursday and the signage was really bad. Lots of overgrown signs and so many rusted through and lying in the long grass. A big one near Saxmundham that originally was held up by two poles is now only held up by one as the other is rusted through. It looks like it could fall down at any moment. If I can see this why can’t the council?

As for the ones covered in green algae, what would it cost to nip out with a bucket of soapy water and sponge to clean them down?

I can’t help but think that if these signs were important enough to put up in the first place they should be maintained and kept in good condition. I’d love to know what you think. Should we spend some money on these signs or perhaps we don’t need them now that most of us have sat navs?

If you’re on a journey somewhere today I bet you’ll see loads!

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