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Chopsticks is a term used on SABRE to refer to the sign indicating the start of motorway restrictions. The term comes from the motorway symbol vaguely resembling a pair of chopsticks and a stand. In reality, the symbol is supposed to represent a bridge crossing over the motorway carriageways.
The term "No Chopsticks" can also be applied to an End of Motorway sign, but this is less common practice.
The chopsticks usually appear next to the number of the motorway they are indicating the start of, and will often appear on roundabouts where the exit from the roundabout leads directly onto the motorway, similarly with flag signs on the roundabout exits.
There are a few rare occurrences where the chopsticks sign is found without a corresponding motorway number. These signs are, however, not considered good practice even though they do correspond with a permitted variant of Diagram 2901 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. Examples can be found on the A14(M) northbound and at the exits from Winchester Services. Another set existed at the rebuilt junction 21 on the M62 but these have since been corrected.
Evolution of the motorway symbol
The original European standard motorway symbol was quite elongated, which the Anderson Committee did not particularly favour. As such, an experimental symbol was introduced for use on the Preston Bypass, showing a closed circle with a set of parallel lines that terminated two thirds of the way through the circle - this was later mirrored to remove the impression the symbol was ending in mid-air, but eventually central government relented and the modern symbol was introduced in 1975.
Variant proposed in the Anderson report