ACT News

Love locks to be removed by National Capital Authority

The heartfelt declarations of lovers, young and old, engraved in a row of brass locks on Aspen Island footbridge will be removed on Friday by the National Capital Authority.

The NCA issued an alert on Monday saying it was taking "preventative action now by removing the pad locks before any serious structural damage occurs".

The National Capital Authority has advised that the "love locks" on the Aspen Island John Douglas Gordon footbridge will ...
The National Capital Authority has advised that the "love locks" on the Aspen Island John Douglas Gordon footbridge will be removed on February 6.  Photo: Melissa Adams

"The bridge railings are not engineered to account for additional weight and wind loading that is experienced when large numbers of pad locks are in place" said NCA executive director Helen Badger.

For Arron and his wife Sharne Kinleyside, who married at the Carillon in April last year, the love lock concept was incorporated into their ceremony.

The couple walked over the bridge with their family, affixed an engraved lock, then threw the key in the lake.

Mr Kinleyside, who lives in South Australia, said "for us, that is a place where we forged our marriage in front of all our loved ones, so the lock is a reminder of that".

He was disappointed the NCA would be removing all the love locks.

 "I would love to have our lock back but I don't know how it would be possible because the key is on the bottom of the lake…they would have to destroy it."

But he was also philosophical about the NCA's reasons "Public safety is important. If we go back as a family we want to know our kids are safe crossing the bridge…(but) maybe they could restructure the bridge to support the memories. "

Ms Badger  acknowledged the popular sentiment surrounding the idea of love locks but maintained that "the priority for the NCA is to protect the assets it cares for, on behalf of the Nation, to ensure everyone can safely enjoy the area".

Last June in Paris, a section of the Pont de Arts bridge broke away under the weight of its locks.

Ms Badger said the French railing collapse sparked many authorities to conduct risk assessment.

NSW had conducted a similar program of lock removal and Wollongong was providing a purpose-built structure for locks to keep bridge railings clear, Ms Badger said.

She understood it may be distressing for some people to see their locks removed.

Removal via and angle grinder would commence on Friday and any locks left on NCA land would be removed as part of ongoing maintenance.

Ms Badger said she did not expected the removal to be a costly exercise.

Love locks over at the smaller footbridge between Nerang Pool and Citizenship Place would also be removed.