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In wake of tornado, homeowners request a sound barrier

Adam Skelding spent decades landscaping his Doylestown Township property, where he and his wife, Cheri, have lived for 30 years. In a matter of seconds it was gone.
“It changed the whole landscape,” said Adam Skelding, who estimates he lost nine, 50-foot-high pin oaks and other trees, when a tornado whipped through his Country Brook Drive neighborhood on Aug. 4.
“It picked them up and threw them into the cul-de-sac … it’s been a nightmare,” said Skelding. “Thirty years of work, gone in 30 seconds.”
While the couple, both 73, are grateful their home is habitable, despite considerable damage, they are devastated by the loss of trees that provided their only buffer from the Route 611 Bypass that runs behind their home.
The retired Central Bucks West High School guidance counselor is calling on PennDOT to install a sound wall along the property line that’s bordered by the busy roadway. He‘s contacted local and state officials and PennDOT, making his case.
However, it doesn’t seem likely the transportation agency will be offering help.
In an email, PennDOT spokesperson, Chelsea Lacey-Mabe said, “PennDOT noise abatement policy is currently limited to the construction of warranted noise barriers as part of a highway project on new alignment or for a major reconstruction project with additional travel lanes.
“PennDOT does not have a funding mechanism for noise barrier retrofit projects on existing highways at this time due to constrained federal and state highway dollars. PennDOT continues to use its available funding to address our most critical bridge and highway needs and to maintain our existing infrastructure.”
But, Skelding said, he’ll continue to try. “If it was declared a disaster area, that might help. … I can plant new trees, but I can’t build a sound wall.”