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Trail flood damage will not be covered

Damage to the New River Trail Extension in Pulaski will not be covered by insurance, according to town officials.
Town Manager John Hawley said the town learned this week that the damage caused by the March 13 flood will not be covered due to the trail’s location in a flood zone. Repair quotes submitted by contractors came in just over $100,000.
Hawley said the town will do the work in-house so as to reduce the cost. Earlier, he estimated town staff could make the repairs for about a quarter of the cost of hiring a contracting company to do it.
Dave Quesenberry, assistant town manager, said he spoke with a representative of the insurance company, Virginia Association of Counties Risk Management Programs, Monday about the trail damage.
“He told me there were exclusions in the policy regarding facilities in the (Federal Emergency Management Agency’s) 100-year (base) flood zone,” Quesenberry said. “There was also an exclusion from flood damage if the damage was not within 1,000 feet of a covered structure.”
The zones of exclusion were Flood Zone AE and Flood Zone A, both considered by FEMA to be “high risk” areas. Communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program are required to purchase flood insurance in these zones, according to FEMA’s Web site.
Zone A covers “areas with a 1 percent annual chance of flooding and a 26 percent chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.”
Zone AE covers the base floodplain (the computed elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during a 100-year flood).
“The trail fell under both these policy exclusions, consequently the claim was denied,” Quesenberry added.
“Fortunately, there was little, if any, damage to structures in Heritage Park. Fencing at Cool Springs appears to be easily repaired, while the base of the trail itself, came through the flood, for the most part, intact.”
Some of the most expensive damage was in the loss of a 25- to 30-foot section of retaining wall under the Route 99 bridge, according to Hawley.

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