Paris Bridge Partially Collapses Under Weight of "Love Locks"

Lovebird visitors to the Pont des Arts, a footbridge in Paris, typically mark the occasion by fixing a padlock to its handrail and tossing the key into the Seine to symbolize their eternal devotion. Yesterday evening, police evacuated the bridge after a 2.4-meter section of railing collapsed under the weight of their adoration.

From the Agency France-Presse:

"The bridge was immediately evacuated and closed," local police told AFP.

An architect and local officials rushed to the site and a barrier put in place to stop further access. Police said the bridge would be re-opened by Monday.

The locks started appearing in 2008, and authorities and activists alike have asked visitors to cease the practice since then, citing concerns about weight and aesthetics. The Paris city government warned about the potential for collapse in 2010:

Frequent inspections are carried out in search of segments of bent grating that must be removed and replaced. Two railings were replaced in July and one in August. Is the Passerelle des Arts to become a victim of the lovebirds who wish to solemnise their enduring love?

Perhaps the collapse will serve as a warning to NYC visitors, who recently began attaching love locks to the Brooklyn Bridge. Said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Nicole Garcia last month:

"When a minor component such as a hand railing is impacted by the number or weight of the locks, these custom elements of this national landmark must be removed and a replacement must be newly fabricated, further increasing costs."

[Image via AP]