Written by Staff Writer
18 May, 2015 | 2:16 pm
Melbourne city council has announced that the Southgate bridge, on to which lovers have been locking padlocks as symbols of their affection, is beginning to wear.
Citing “a concern about the integrity of the bridge”, Melbourne’s lord mayor, Robert Doyle, said on Monday the council would be removing the padlocks this week as part of routine maintenance.
“There are now 20,000 locks on that bridge and the wires are starting to sag and in some places because of that sag locks are being placed over two wires together,” he said.
Locks began to appear on the bridge about three years ago, part of a worldwide phenomenon pitting the symbolic bonds of the heart against the actual bonds of bridge infrastructure in Paris, Cologne, Florence and other romantic capitals.
A couple’s initials are typically inscribed on the locks and the keys tossed into the Yarra river. Doyle said it was estimated up to 40,000 keys had been thrown into the river, posing a risk to the environment.
The locks would not be cut off, but slid off the support wires, which would be detached from the bridge and replaced, he said.
Unlike in New York, where similar locks on the Brooklyn bridge were removed and then discarded, Melbourne city council is asking residents for ideas on what to do with the piles of padlocks.
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