(FILES) This file picture taken on August 15, 2012, shows US actor Chuck Norris arriving with his wife Gena O'Kelly and their children at the premiere of "The Expendables 2," at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Slovak pedestrians and cyclists may soon be crossing to neighbouring Austria on a new bridge named Chuck Norris, as the US action hero appeared set to win an Internet vote on the bridge name. As of September 22, 2012, 3,545 people voted in favour of naming the bridge to the Morava river after the famous martial artist and actor, while only only 266 chose the 18th century Austro-Hungarian empress Maria Theresa. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK Image Credit: AFP

Slovak officials rejected the overwhelming results of a popular internet campaign to name a new pedestrian and cycling bridge near the capital after US action film star Chuck Norris.

Despite 12,599 votes for the Norris name in a two-month online poll, Bratislava regional assembly decided to call the bridge spanning the Morava river and Slovakia’s border with Austria the “Freedom Cycling-Bridge” in memory of people killed attempting to escape communist eastern Europe.

The assembly’s choice earned only 457 votes in the online poll, where it was easily outshone by other proposed names, including “Maria Theresa” after an Austro-Hungarian empress and “the Devinska cycling bridge” in honour of a nearby village.

“We have unanimously voted for the Freedom Cycling-Bridge,” Bratislava region chairman Pavol Freso told reporters.

“It truly is a place where people were running for freedom through barbed wire, it is a place where many have died, so this is a dignified way how to honour these people.”

Slovakia, once part of the former Czechoslovakia, has a 107 km border with Austria and many people died trying to flee the communist regime before its collapse in 1989.

Norris, a martial arts expert-turned film star, is known for playing tough guy characters in such classic movies as “Lone Wolf McQuade”, “Missing in Action” and “The Delta Force”.

The actor’s work has become a popular source of kitschy fun among Slovaks and a mainstay for local jokes about macho strength and invincibility.