Love locks to be removed

Tourists check out the many padlocks attached to the railings on the southern side of the Sea Cliff Bridge at Clifton. The locks – symbols of the permanency of relationships – are corroding the bridge. Picture: KIRK GILMOUROwners of love locks on Sea Cliff Bridge have two weeks to remove them before authorities bring out the bolt cutters.

Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) southern regional manager Bradley Turner said the locks – usually regular padlocks engraved and left on landmarks to symbolise the permanency of relationships – were corroding and rusting the bridge and interfering with its maintenance.

‘‘The padlocks cause safety and maintenance issues on this iconic bridge,’’ he said.

‘‘While we appreciate the emotional tie people may have to these padlocks, we need to remove them.’’

Locks will be removed from the bridge on September 10, but will remain available for collection from the RMS works centre at 21 York Place, Russell Vale, until October 31.

RMS offered advance warning of its plans after Wollongong City Council removed locks on Mount Keira lookout in April without notice, prompting complaints.

Council later invited owners to collect the locks and about 30 out of 300-400 were claimed.

A council spokesman said the remainder had recently been recycled.

Both council and the RMS are investigating an alternative to the bridge and the lookout, including a purpose-built structure for love locks.

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