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Paris 'Padlocks of Love' Threaten Pont des Arts Bridge (VIDEO)

Travelers Today       By    Karen Fredrickson

Updated: Nov 11, 2013 10:40 AM EST

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The Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris, known for people hanging padlocks on it to symbolize their love, then throwing the keys in the river below, is causing safety issues, according to USA Today.

The bridge spans the Seine River, and the popularity of the tradition is causing problems for people in boats and barges that pass under the bridge, according to Jean-Pierre Lecoq, the mayor of the sixth arrondisement, which has jurisdiction over the bridge.

"The issue of weight on the parapets has become very important," Lecoq told USA Today. "Certain sections of the guardrail have given way with quite significant risk of them falling on people sitting in the boats that pass under the bridge."

City officials have already had to remove a railing segment of the bridge and replace it with a wooden board.

There has been a significant increase in the number of padlocks put on the bridge in the last four years, mostly from international tourists, according to Lecoq.

One possible solution that has been suggested is to remove the locks every six months or once a year, depending on how heavily concentrated they become.

"This will not only lighten the load on the railings, but it will also make room for lovers who want to hang their locks," Lecoq said.

The railings on the bridge are already very strong, so increasing their strength isn't the best solution, according to Lecoq.

"The solution chosen by the City of Paris to replace damaged parts by plywood boards was not doing justice to the beauty of the bridge, which is one of the best views on the Seine," he said.

"It's understandable if these locks, including ours, get taken out after some time," Laura, an Italian tourist, feels the tradition of hanging the locks should continue, said.

The solution of removing them after a period provides the best solution for all involved and allows the tradition to continue.

 

Video of the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris.

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