The 2017 Great American Eclipse will enter the Mid-State on Monday, August 21, spanning I-24, I-40, and I-65. Lasting more than an hour, the sun will slowly be covered by the moon, engulfing the area in total darkness. Then, the process reverses and the region slowly returns to light.
This will be the first coast-to-coast eclipse in 98 years with downtown Nashville, and many areas north of Nashville in the path of totality.
With Middle Tennessee offering a unique front-row experience to this phenomenon, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Tennessee Highway Patrol are planning extensively for this event.
Jennifer Flynn, Region 2 Community Relations Officer with TDOT says preparing for the eclipse is similar to other large events held in the state. “We are planning ahead like we would for any event where we would have a large influx of traffic, such as Bonnaroo or the CMA in Nashville. We’ve been working closely with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and our plans are to keep traffic moving on the interstates and state routes. We’ll have help trucks out to assist the THP officers with traffic control. And then we’re working with local law enforcement as well.”
Local tourism officials estimate 200,000 or more people are expected in Middle Tennessee Aug. 21.
“But we’re hearing estimates between 300,000 to over a million that could come to the Middle Tennessee area to view this eclipse, so that’s a lot of people,” said B. J. Doughty, TDOT Community Relations/Communications Director.
More than 200 local law enforcement officers will be out in force Aug. 21 to ensure safety and provide travel assistance.
Lt. John Harmon with the Tennessee Highway Patrol says “all available troopers will be working that day.”
TDOT reps said 28 help trucks will run expanded routes on all Nashville interstates on the day of the eclipse to respond to crashes and construction backups.