In recent years, a trend has occurred on the walkway bridge over the Wawayanda Creek. People who are willing to express their eternal love to one another place an engraved lock onto the red railings of the iconic bridge and then toss their key into the stream below. While this is a touching sentiment, the Village of Warwick has other concerns that take priority. Should this trend be allowed to proliferate, there will be consequences that can compromise the integrity of the structure.
In 2008, the movement took off in Paris and nearly a million padlocks ended up on the railings of the Pont des Arts Bridge by 2015. This seemingly harmless act resulted in several collapses and raised strong concerns over the unnecessary weight, which totaled nearly 45 tons, four times the weight limit of the bridge itself.
The local council finally ordered the removal of the padlocks and exercised measures to prevent it from happening again. In addition to the added weight, the locks can cause deformation, deterioration, and rusting of the railings, thus reducing the lifespan of the bridge and increasing the number of repairs, which in turn becomes expensive. For example, just to remove padlocks from the Brooklyn Bridge, it costs NYC an average of $100,000 a year, excluding the cost of repairs. NYC has issued fines for such acts in recent years and other cities in various countries have banned it outright.
The walkway bridge over the Wawayanda Creek had only a dozen or two locks on its railings in 2015. Now there are a few hundred and the Village of Warwick wants to prevent future complications, therefore the locks will need to be removed.
Because we appreciate the sentiments of love, we are giving those who placed a lock three weeks, beginning on Wed., Jul. 18, to voluntarily remove them before they are cut off by the Village Department of Public Works.
Locks that have not been removed by Mon., Aug. 13 will be cut off and held in storage at the Village Hall until Tues., Sept. 4 for those who wish to claim them. If locks are not claimed they will be discarded.
It is with a heavy heart that this needs to be done, but the priority is protecting Village property. The good news is that we are looking into alternatives to allow this trend to carry on in a creative and manageable way.