Montreat gate repairs under review

Fred McCormick

Montreat Conference Center is reviewing bids to repair the iconic gate at the town’s entrance, struck by a truck Feb. 22.

The truck delivering materials to a house in Montreat failed to clear the archway on the gate’s right side. The extent of the damage is unknown, said Tanner Pickett, the vice president of sales, marketing and communication for the Montreat Conference Center, which owns the gate.

“There is mainly structural damage along the top, on the inside,” he said. “We’ve actually had a structural engineer come out and take a look at it and give recommendations to our staff, as well as the insurance company, as to what needs to happen.”

Since then, the gate has been blocked on each side by barricades that direct drivers to the alternative entrance beside the structure. As of late last week, there was no timetable for completing the gate repairs.

“Between collecting bids, dealing with the insurance companies and talking with the engineers, we have been pretty busy with that so far,” Pickett said. “But we would like to have it fixed as soon as possible. The spring and summer months are so busy for everyone in the Montreat community, so we want to get it fixed as quickly as possible. But these are just some of the things that are slowing us down.”

The entrance sees a lot of traffic in spring and summer, but damage to the gate has been relatively uncommon, according to Pickett.

“Other than 2005, the last time that I know of that this happened was 2011,” he said. “We have a lot of church vans and buses that come through that entrance, and we’ve had a surprisingly low number of incidents with this kind of thing.”