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A TOP engineer with more than five decades' experience has issued a 10-point plan to help save the Manilla viaduct from demolition, but it hasn't filed one councillor with hope.
Frank Johnson has a position on the Engineering Heritage Australia committee but provided his report on the viaduct independent of the peak body.
Mr Johnson has called for a project manager to be employed and a detailed condition report on the Manilla landmark.
"It is highly likely that this level of inspection has not been carried out since services were suspended in November 1987, and therefore some serious condition assessment is overdue - if the structure is to preserved and re-used," he said.
The engineer said the community and stakeholders needed to come to a agreement on the possible future use and get started on a concept design.
"In any case, it would be my recommendation to start with a very much no-frills approach, to get the most economical solution to start off with, as funding is sure to be an issue," he said.
Mr Johnson also said in his report there would be a submission made to get the viaduct listed on the state heritage register as well.
Among his other recommendations, Mr Johnson put forward the need for cost estimates, a business case, support, legislation and a fall-back position.
Manilla-based Tamworth councillor Jim Maxwell wasn't filled with hope by the new report.
"I honestly think they've made up their mind to knock it down regardless, which is very unfortunate," Cr Maxwell said.
He said funding was always going to be the major hurdle in saving the viaduct.
"John Holland would love to give it to council or something, even then we probably couldn't justify spending the money," he said.
Later this year, a group of University of New South Wales students will visit Manilla as part of a urban planning project to come up with some ways to rejuvenate the town.
Cr Maxwell said he'd like another community meeting with John Holland after the university project.
This article first appeared on www.northerndailyleader.com.au
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