Don’t be surprised this weekend if you head out to the Bridge to the Beach along the Chambers Bay waterfront and can’t find your lock of love.
Roughly 100 padlocks that had hung at the end of the bridge are now heaped in buckets in Pierce County’s possession after the rows of cable holding them broke.
Some of the locks fell into the water below, and county parks and recreation staff isn’t going in after them, said county spokesman Hunter George.
The rest will wait for county officials to decide their fate.
Dozens of other locks still hang at the scenic spot in University Place, scattered along the length of the bridge.
Parks officials learned of the broken cable Friday morning after someone called to report it. By afternoon the missing rows had been replaced, but the locks weren’t returned to their suspended location above the shoreline.
As reported in The News Tribune earlier this week, the weight of roughly 90 locks had caused the top cable at the end of the bridge to sag. But county staff think someone ripped the cable from the bridge on purpose. Several rows of cable were missing when county parks staff went out there to repair the damage, George said.
For now, the locks that fell will remain in buckets in the care of Pierce County. Engineers will work to find a solution so that couples can continue the tradition of sealing their love with a lock and throwing away the key.
The county hopes to find a way to transfer the locks to stable rails that won’t sag and compromise bridge safety. It’s unknown when the locks will be returned to the waterfront.