Almost nine months after the works and human settlement ministry notified Project DANTAK to comply with the road signage standard and remove all the signs and writings from the highway, Project DANTAK is yet to remove the signboards.

This also comes a year after the Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) approved the standard road signage, ‘Road Safety Signs and Symbols’ (RSSS) with Department of Roads as the implementing agency.

The works and human settlement ministry notified Project DANTAK to strictly comply with the road signage standard and to remove all the signs and writings from the highway in June last year.

The DoR director, Tenzin, said that although the signboards are not yet removed, the department had received a response from the DANTAK that it would strictly comply with the guidelines.

“They had, however, mentioned that they would take some time to remove the signboards,” he said.

The letter sent in July last year stated that Project DANTAK would fix the new road signboards as per BSB’s RSSS on all the new roads under construction like Damchu-Chukha and Damchu-Haa bypass.

“However, all other roads where the boards exist require a separate job and approval from headquarters to remove the old signboards,” the letter stated.

“The old road signboards would be replaced as per guidelines once the job has been sanctioned by competent authority.”

Director Tenzin said that the department would make sure the boards are removed as per the standard and the discussion is still on. “It would be removed because they’ve agreed to cooperate and that they would definitely not put any kind of signs like they did earlier.”

Meanwhile, DoR’s chief engineer for maintenance division, Dorji Gyeltshen, said that the RSSS has been distributed to all the dzongkhags and the department has been strictly implementing the guideline, especially in the new road construction sites.

The installation inspections are carried out by the respective agencies.

The RSSS was introduced to standardise road safety signs and symbols to ensure that it is consistent. The RSSS was to have a common method to communicate safety information with continued growth in international trade, travel and mobility of workers.

The guideline prescribes general requirement for development and layout of road safety signs and road markings to be used on Asian or national highways, dzongkhags, thromdes, and gewog roads.

Dorji Gyeltshen said that according to the standard signs there should not be any welcome signs other than the direction of the place and kilometre (KM) post. “However, the road signs are put on the need-base wherever required although the kilometre block is mandatory, including the regulatory signs.”

He also said that although one of the boards in Samdrupjongkhar still has a sign of Border Roads Organisation wishing travellers happy journey, it earlier had details of the distance of Indian highway.  “But DANTAK was later asked to change and now it specifies the distance to Trashigang, Kanglung, Wamrong, and Dewathang. This was done even before the road signage standard came into force.”

Yangchen C Rinzin