LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – A tradition that started in Paris became popular in Little Rock in early 2016, but city officials are putting a permanent stop to it.
Representatives of the Junction Bridge are removing personal padlocks from the railings of the Junction Bridge on November 15. This will end the fad of attaching "love locks" to the Junction Bridge, which is a pedestrian and bicycle bridge crossing the downtown Arkansas River.
The bridge connects North Little Rock and Little Rock restaurants, parks, hotels, museums and sports venues.
Many visitors to the Junction Bridge attach “love locks” to the railings of the Bridge in a symbolic act of love and commitment. Keys are often thrown into the Arkansas River below.
During an annual assessment of the bridge, the board members reviewed the practice of attaching the personal locks on the blue hand railings.
“We appreciate the public interest and love of the Junction Bridge,” said Sarah Fritschie, Junction Bridge Board Chair. An unintended problem is that the metal locks are continuously marring the Bridge railings and removing the paint.”
At a recent meeting, the Junction Bridge Board approved removing all current locks and will remove any locks that are attached in the future.
“Repainting and repairing the Junction Bridge’s distinctive blue railings is a costly endeavor,” said Jim McClelland, Junction Bridge Board Vice Chair. Unfortunately, the padlocks cannot be returned to the owners since there is no contact information for each owner and no one received permission to attach the locks to the railings.”
The Love Locks custom may have originated in Paris. Popularity of the custom was featured in movies such as the Hallmark Channel’s “Love Locks.” However, hundreds of thousands of locks were removed from bridges in Paris in recent years, with some estimates of 45 tons of padlocks being removed.