Cross the bridge to ‘lock’ your love

KLANG: It may not be the most romantic place in town but the 60-year-old Kota Bridge – the only double-decker bridge in South-East Asia – has become the latest place for lovebirds to “lock” their affection for each other.

Couples have been putting up padlocks of various sizes and colours engraved with names or messages of love on a stainless steel panel in the shape of two intertwining hearts. The “love locks” are snapped into place in fence-like metal within the hearts.

Henry Kueh, 32, was seen joining in the fun with his wife, Abbie Chan, 30, and their two-year-old daughter Giselle yesterday.

“Today is Chap Goh Meh, which is also the Chinese Valentine’s Day.

“So I thought it’s sweet to pledge my love to my beloved on this special day through this special way.

“The lock is also a symbol of our devotion as a family,” he said.

The initiative was started by Kelab Warisan Sungai Klang, an NGO which wants to beautify and promote Kota Bridge as a tourist draw as well as to clean up the Klang River.

Club president Jordan Ng said the love locks section was part of a series of events organised in conjunction with yesterday’s Chap Goh Meh celebration, which also included a run to raise funds for the upkeep of the bridge.

For yesterday and the universal Valentine’s Day on Feb 14, couples could have their love locks engraved with names and customised messages with a minimum RM50 donation to the club’s funds.

“They also receive customised love certificates after putting up their padlocks,” said Ng, adding that Kota Bridge itself is a heritage icon with many stories waiting to be told to visitors.

“We want to promote it as one of the main tourist attractions in the royal town.”

The 500m reinforced-steel truss girder bridge links North and South Klang with the upper deck for heavier vehicles and the bottom level for lighter vehicles and pedestrians.

The club, formed late last year, is also working with the Klang Municipal Council on its proposal to periodically toss effective micro-organism mud balls into the Klang River to minimise pollutants in the water.

Earlier, council president Datuk Yasid Bidin launched the love padlocks section before flagging off the charity run.

Ng said the stainless steel panel was custom-made to withstand the weight of an increasing number of padlocks.

In Paris, city officials removed millions of padlocks fastened to the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge across the River Seine after part of its railings collapsed in June 2014.

“This is what we want to avoid,” said Ng, adding that new panels can be built at Kota Bridge when the existing one becomes crowded.

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