For many, many years, couples in the throes of fiery passion have attached a “love lock” to the Pont des Arts, a pedestrian bridge that spans the Seine river in Paris. Enamoured visitors would write their names or initials on a lock, attach it to the bridge and throw the key into the Seine.
However, the City of Love has closed down the bridge for a week in order to cut them all off. Overloaded with padlocks, bike locks, handcuffs and other representations of love, the combined weight of almost a million locks compromising its structure.
Paris City Hall estimated the weight of a Pont des Arts three-metre grate panel with its padlocks at 500 kg., and there are 112 panels on the bridge. The weight is four times the load limit allowed on the bridge, which obviously puts others in danger — including the people on tour boats and ferries travelling under the bridge. City maintenance crews regularly travel the city and rip off the locks when the panels seem fragile, but tourists manage to fill the gaps in a matter of days.
The city will ultimately replace the panels on the Pont des Arts with glass, making hanging padlocks impossible. Other bridges in the City of Lights are also inundated with love locks, and the city’s plan is to move on to those that present a risk.
Geez, Paris, talk about killing the vibe.