This plaque commemorates the opening of the Pratt-Terry Overpass in 1981. (Johnnie St. Vrain / Longmont Times-Call)

Dear Johnnie: Near the intersection of Second Avenue and Terry Street there is a plaque mounted on a short stone monument. I’ve driven this way multiple times a week for over 20 years, but still have no idea what the plaque says. Can you enlighten me? The place it’s located in is not exactly pedestrian friendly, so it seems like a strange place to have a sign. — Puzzled Driver Who Looks At The Sign Every Day And Wonders What It Says

Dear Puzzled Driver, etc.: Here’s what it says, in part:

CITY OF LONGMONT

PRATT-TERRY OVERPASS

DEDICATED THIS 12TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER 1981

In order to insure convenient and safe access over the railroad tracks separating North and South Longmont, the construction of this overpass was the result of the dreams and planning of many city officials and citizens.

Therefore, be it resolved that this Pratt-Terry Overpass be dedicated to the Citizens of Longmont, Colorado. 

What follows that is a list of names, of mayors and city council members, city administrators, consultants and the contractor, Flatiron Structures.

According to a Times-Call story from January of 1976, a half-dozen studies, beginning in the late 1950s, had found that the primary transportation problem for Longmont was “inadequate north-south capacity.” In 1978, the Times-Call reported three instances in which emergency responses were delayed due to trains, including a five-minute delay for an ambulance trying to reach an injured motorcyclist on South Main Street.

A consulting firm originally recommended 14 options for an overpass, then narrowed that to four — the existing curved Pratt-Terry overpass, and three others that were versions of a Pratt Street overpass. Two of those three would have created cul-de-sacs at Second Avenue or Third Avenue.

A Main Street overpass was considered to be “not economically feasible.” A petition signed by 70 business owners objected to a Main Street overpass.

Longmont Mayor Bob Askey, at right in dark suit, rides across the Pratt-Terry Overpass with other dignitaries on its opening day, Sept. 12, 1981. (Times-Call archives / Longmont Museum)

“An overpass on Main Street would have been expensive because of its length and width,” former Mayor Bob Askey told me in an email. “Business disruption on south Main Street was another factor. City Manager Charles Klarich and I discussed other possibilities for the overpass location in his office.”

Askey was mayor when the overpass opened, and his name is the first on the plaque.

City residents were happy to see the new north-south route open. The day before the opening of the overpass, the Times-Call headline read: “At last! P-T Overpass to open Saturday.”

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(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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