NZTA progress slow on city's new 'h' signs

By John Maslin

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The agency responsible for adding the "h" to Whanganui road signs says it is working on the process as fast as it can.

The NZ Transport Agency is the body which manages road signs across the country's state highways and will be the organisation that will introduce the new spelling to the distinctive signs with their white lettering on green background.

Neil Walker, NZTA regional highways manager, said the agency was aware the spelling of Whanganui was an issue that was important to the community.

"We're working as quickly as possible and are currently working through options for reflecting the recently adopted spelling on the signs we're responsible for," he said.

He said this involved a contractor identifying all of the signs and providing the NZTA with information on different options and costs.

"Once we have this information we'll be able to give an update on timing," Mr Walker said.

Back in March, 2010, there was a stoush between the district council and NZTA when the agency put up new 50km/h speed signs with the new spelling on Great North Rd near the intersection with Montgomery Rd.

But no sooner had the signs gone up the then mayor Michael Laws ordered their removal.

A vocal opponent of changing the spelling, Mr Laws said the signs were "both illegal and misrepresented our city's name".

He said the two spellings were to be gazetted later that year but nothing should change until Parliament passed the new spelling.

In 2009 then NZTA area manager Errol Christiansen told the Chronicle the agency would change the road signs as and when they needed replacing, but it would not be a process that would happen all at once.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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