Maintenance crews have removed about 5,600 padlocks from the bridge since July, transportation officials tell the Daily News, which is nearly one padlock for every 5,989 feet of the span.
Transportation Department spokeswoman Nicole Garcia told the News the locks present a danger for people driving under the pedestrian walkway because they could potentially fall. She also said the locks cost a lot to remove, and costly repairs and modifications must be made to the 131-year-old bridge once they are.
"When a minor component such as a hand railing is impacted by the number or weight of the locks, these custom elements of this national landmark must be removed and a replacement must be newly fabricated, further increasing costs," Garcia told the paper.
The padlock ritual originated in Italy many years ago and was first spotted on the Brooklyn Bridge around 2010. Since then, couples have made it a point to clip their inscribed padlocks onto the span.
"It's a sign of our love," 31-year-old German tourist Krissie Walder told the News as she put a heart-shaped padlock on the bridge. "As long as this bridge is standing, our love will be too."