Love birds are locking up love and throwing away the key by attaching personalized ‘love locks’ to bridges on the newly restored Rushbrook Trail.
The locks, a symbol of everlasting love, is a romantic gesture practiced around the world, but it can add up and actually be devastating to the infrastructure of the bridges due to sheer weight.
Love locks have been attached to many bridges around the globe. They can be found in China, Japan, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Russia. The structural integrity of the Pont des Arts, a bridge in Paris, was compromised after 45 tons of locks weighed the structure down and they had to be removed.
There are only three love locks attached to bridges on the Rushbrook Trail but, Sean Carlson, president of the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society, isn’t alarmed, yet.
“This isn’t something we have even considered or discussed,” Carlson said. If love locks do become concerning in the future, Carlson asks that people understand why the society would have to adjust its mindset.
“We will throw it out to our engineers, if public safety or structural concerns do become an issue,” he added.
Janine Toneff, president of Coast Isle Engineering, who worked on the trail, said that too many locks would compromise the railings.
“When we build a bridge we consider the dead-load, which is the weight of the structure itself, and the live-load which is the weight of people walking on the bridge. The mesh railings have a lateral-load, which is the force it can take if someone falls sideways into the railing. The railings where people would attach locks are not designed to have a downward force or weight pulling against them,” she said.
At the moment, Carlson’s main focus is for people to simply enjoy and respect both the trail and the bridges.
“We encourage respect of the property so visitors can enjoy it for years to come,” he said.