The Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) approved the standards on road signage in the country on April 7.

The Department of Roads (DoR) will now implement the road signage standard through out the country.

The standard, ‘Road Safety Signs and Symbols’, according to DoR and BSB officials, was developed to standardise road safety signs and symbols to ensure its consistent use since there was a need for a common method to communicate safety information with continued growth in international trade, travel and mobility of workers.

Officials said that generally, road signs contain instructions that the road users are required to obey and  other necessary information such as to warn about hazards, provide directions on routes, and destinations, among others.

DoR’s chief engineer, Dorji Tshering, said DoR had a consultative meeting with all the relevant agencies, which includes officials from Bhutan Telecom, Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), traffic police, project DANTAK and the information and communications ministry on April 14.

The road safety standard, which is now being printed, is expected to be distributed throughout the country within a week or two.

The standard, officials say, prescribes the general requirement for development and layout of road safety signs and road markings to be used in Asian/national highways, dzongkhags, thromdes and gewog roads.

The standard states that the colour of the mandatory or regulatory sign shall have a white background with a red border and black graphical symbol. “The signs shall be with white legends on standard green backgrounds,” the standard states. “Green for highways and blue for thromde and other roads with black or white legend.”

It also states that the Dzongkha words shall be larger in size than English words and Dzongkha words are to be placed above the English.

Officials from BSB and DoR say that the standard will then be made a mandatory document. “The standard will prohibit the use of other signs that are not mentioned in it,” BSB’s research officer, Tashi Tenzin said.

He also said that the standard was developed by BSB’s graphical symbol technical committee, which not only develops standards on road safety signs and symbols but also has plans to work on standardisation of sign boards, signs and symbols for different areas like trekking routes, sacred sites and other areas for uniform application of signs and symbols that concern public safety as per international standards.

Dorji Tshering said that the standard is a regulatory document. “Any standard by itself is not regulatory but only when an agency choses to adopt it, it becomes a regulatory document,” he said. “MoWHS, as the relevant agency, will make it a mandatory document.”

Meanwhile, DoR officials in Paro replaced the wording on a project DANTAK signboard that states “DANTAK welcomes you to Paro” to “Paro welcomes you to Bhutan”.

DoR officials said that while they replaced the wording of the signboard on Friday, they had to redo it yesterday after receiving online feedback on  grammatical errors.

An official said that the change of wording on the signboard is a temporary measure and the works and human settlement ministry will take a permanent measure later.

Tashi Dema