Council to remove ‘lovelocks’ from suspension bridge

The bridge. Picture: Perth and Kinross Council/SWNS
The bridge. Picture: Perth and Kinross Council/SWNS
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A council has decided to remove ‘lovelocks’ from a 105-year-old footbridge in a popular Scottish tourist town - because of safety concerns.

The Port-na-Craig suspension bridge - opened in 1913 - is a hot spot for visitors to express their affections for a partner or mark the passing of a loved one by attaching personalised padlocks to the steel structure.

The affectionate trend is believed to have started in Rome, but it is now a popular practice at tourist locations around the world.

The footbridge, in Pitlochry, Perth and Kinross, spans across the River Tummel and will see hundreds of the locks that adorn the bridge removed next week.

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In 2013, all the locks were removed ahead of a £275,000 makeover of the bridge, but now Perth and Kinross Council want to remove the locks permanently.

The work to remove the ‘lovelocks’ will commence on Monday 12 November 2018.

They will be stored at Pitlochry Library for four weeks to allow their owners the opportunity to collect them.

Sheena Brennan, owner of Pitlochry Hardware Store, where people buy the locks and can have them personally engraved, said: “I think it’s a shame, the council should offer an alternative.

“We’ve been selling lovelocks in our store for a number of years and it’s mainly tourists that do it, who’ve probably seen it elsewhere and abroad.

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“Why don’t they put up a fence along the river near the bridge that’s dual-purpose for safety and for people to attach their locks.”

A spokeswoman for Perth and Kinross Council said: “The work is being carried out as the extent of the padlocks is now such that it is preventing full inspection of the bridge and its structural elements.

“They are also causing damage to the bridge paintwork leading to rusting of steel sections, as well as posing a potential snagging hazard for pedestrians.”

Weather permitting, the removal of the locks and maintenance to the bridge paintwork are expected to be completed by Thursday 22 November.

Port-na-Craig footbridge will remain open to the public at all times during the lock removal and painting works.

Additionally, signs will be erected at either end of the bridge advising that any locks placed on the bridge in future will be removed.