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Oley Turnpike Road buckles under extreme heat

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 19 2013 09:26:57 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 19 2013 05:58:51 PM CDT

Days of extreme heat have taken a toll on people and infrastructure throughout the region.

OLEY TWP., Pa. -

Days of extreme heat have taken a toll on people and infrastructure throughout the region.

PennDOT crews spent the Friday under the scorching summer sun in Oley Twp., Berks Co.

A cooler and water bottle was at one worker's feet as they worked to fix part of Oley Turnpike Road that buckled because of the excessive heat. The 6100 block was reduced to one lane as crews dug out the road and laid down new asphalt.

Construction workers sweated it out at the site of what will be the new CVS on Perkiomen Avenue in Mount Penn. Some workers chugged down water to stay hydrated. They've been out everyday in the blistering heat that has gotten more brutal throughout the week.

The rising temperatures were not much better indoors, at least at ATV Bakery in Reading. There was no air conditioning, and the oven baked the dough at nearly 500 degrees. The rolls came out perfect, but it came at a hot cost.

"We make sure the guys get a lot of fluids. We make sure they have breaks when they need them, and we try to cool them as well as we can with fans," said Claudia Ferko, the bakery's chief financial officer.

Too much air makes the dough rise too fast, and it won't have the correct shape or texture. The workers pushed through Friday without complaining, but they admitted this week's heat was worse than usual.

"When the women are sweating, you know it's more hot because we don't usually sweat as much as men do," said Normandy Albert, who works at the bakery.

Over the last few days, Reading Hospital was swamped with patients coming in dehydrated, and suffering from heat exhaustion, said officials.

"We've been very busy with heat-related illness, upwards of five percent of what we're seeing is related to the excessive heat," said Dr. Charles Barbera, chairman of emergency medicine.

According to doctors, the effects of the heat can come on suddenly or over time.