The locks are damaging the historic grillwork of the bridge. The bridge is shut down so that the locks can be removed.
It’s estimated that more than a million locks are on the bridge, weighing 45 tons.
And there is starting to be ‘Locks of Love’ bridge of our own, in De Pere.
The locks started showing up shortly after the opening of the De Pere Riverwalk in 2013.
The number of locks on Sunset Point, an over-water walkway at Voyageur Park, has grown slowly but steadily over the last few months, causing the city parks department to keep an eye out for possible safety issues with the how the locks are attached to the fencing.
“We are very aware of what’s going on out here with the locks, and um, we monitor it,” says City of De Pere Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry, Marty Kosobucki.
While the number of ‘love locks’ that have shown up along Sunset Point in De Pere, do not compare to the amount on one of Paris’ most famous bridges, the De Pere Parks Department is keeping an eye on them.
“We had a discussion about it, and at the present time, the city right now has taken a position that in moderation, um, the locks are welcome out here,” says Kosobucki.
The ‘love lock’ tradition, is the practice of locking a padlock, with a couple’s initials or names, on a bridge and throwing the key into the water below.
“We understand that the locks represent a very special time in people’s lives and we don’t want to actually take away that at this point in time,” explains Kosobucki.
One couple visiting the viewing pier, from Thorp, Wisconsin, was celebrating a special time – their one year anniversary.
The Juzwiaks say seeing the love locks is heartwarming. “I think you hear so many stories about breakups and heartache and to see something like this, it’s um, it’s kind of encouraging,” says Angela Juzwiak.
The couple says they wish they had come to the look-out, with a lock.
“Yea, we’d be sticking one on the bridge,” says Tom & Angela Juzwiak.
The parks department says if you do decide to ‘lock your love’ on the pier, choose the location wisely.
“The best chance of having it stay out here, try to find a cable that doesn’t have many locks on it, and by all means, do not try to put the lock over two cables,” says Kosobucki.
Putting a lock on incorrectly could be a safety hazard and lead to it getting cut off, something the parks department has already had to do several times.
“We don’t want to cut a lock off. I mean, that’s no fun for us either,” says Kosobucki.
The De Pere Parks Department says that while they do welcome the love locks, they will continue to monitor them at Sunset Point, and they may eventually put a set of guidelines in place for the locks.