New York City Department of Transportation officials are asking tourists and natives to refrain from marking their undying love with so-called ‘love locks’ due to the damage they cause to the structure.
The custom for couples to memorialize their loving relationships originated in Italy several decades ago, and then spread to Paris. The famed LÃ©opold-SÃ©dar-Senghor footbridge, also known as the “Bridge of Love” has so many thousands of locks attached to it that it is almost impossible to find a place to affix a new lock. The ritual spread to the 130-year-old bridge in 2010, but the number of locks attached to the bridge has skyrocketed in the past few weeks, says the DOT. Officials say that maintenance crews have removed over 5,600 padlocks since last July.
Spokeswoman for the DOT Nicole Garcia says that the practice is creating a dangerous situation for the drivers who are directly below the pedestrian walkway. She did not elaborate or give examples of any recent accidents or specific occurrences of problems. Garcia did explain that removing the locks adds to maintenance costs of the bridge.
“When a minor component such as a hand railing is impacted by the number or weight of the locks, these custom elements of this national landmark must be removed and a replacement must be newly fabricated, further increasing costs” said Garcia.