Safety concerns prompt removal of 20,000 'love locks' from Melbourne bridge
Updated: 2015-05-18 11:01
MELBOURNE - Thousands of couples could soon find themselves falling out of love because of a Melbourne City Council decision to remove "love locks" from a central business district bridge.
More than 20,000 padlocks will be taken down from one of Melbourne's main footbridges later this month after the mayor signaled that safety concerns had prompted maintenance works to remove the locks.
The council estimates that more than 20,000 locks were a part of the Southgate footbridge, with thousands more keys polluting the bottom of the city's Yarra River.
Mayor Robert Doyle has said the weight of the locks was causing stress on the bridge, and the locks would be removed and not replaced when the bridge undergoes maintenance from Tuesday.
He said he was seeking alternatives to replacing the locks onto the bridge, asking residents to come up with ideas on where to store the locks of love.
"If anyone has any idea what I can do with 20,000 locks, I'd love to hear it," he told 3AW radio on Monday. "That and the 40, 000 keys now at the bottom of the Yarra River."
Couples visiting the bridge have mirrored the recent international trend of writing two names on a padlock before locking their love into place and throwing away the key, an issue that many cities around the world have faced.
In 2014, Paris's Pont des Arts partially collapsed under the weight of the padlocks, prompting worldwide safety concerns in cities that had similar gestures of love.
But Doyle said the locks would not be cut but rather slid off the wiring, making sure that lovers were not cursed by a broken lock.
Some tourists have voiced their disapproval, saying the locks on the bridge were a tourist attraction and shouldn't be removed.
"They shouldn't be coming off - it's a great tourist attraction. Last time I was here in Melbourne we saw the bridge, and we remembered to bring a lock this time to put on," one tourist told News Limited on Monday.
"Why don't they make a wall with wires on the banks for the locks?" another added.
Doyle said that once the locks are removed, city council officers will routinely check the bridge and cut off any new locks to prevent further safety concerns.