TVA preparing for large crowds during eclipse weekend - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TVA preparing for large crowds during eclipse weekend

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Whether visitors come for a long vacation or just a day trip, TVA is doing everything it can to make sure people have a fun and safe time watching the eclipse.

"We know that this is going to amped up," says TVA spokesperson Scott Fiedler. He expects tens of thousands of visitors to watch the eclipse from the dozens of TVA recreations sites.

"We're going to have uniformed officers out at our facilities. We want people to follow NO PARKING signs. We also don't want anybody to cross safety barriers," says Fiedler.

If you come to Chickamauga Dam, keep traffic flowing. Don't park on the Thrasher Bridge to watch the eclipse. No matter which TVA site you choose, Fiedler says only spend the night in designated camping areas.

"We're going to bring in additional restroom port-o-potties as needed in specific areas throughout the valley," adds Fiedler.

Some visitors might make a long weekend out it. So TVA, the largest public utility company in the county, has to make sure it can handle power swings smoothly. Resource Operations manager Patrick Walshe doesn't expect problems because the agency has many resources available.

"Nuclear energy. We have coal, we have gas. We have hydro energy. Then we have other renewables including solar," says Walshe.

Solar will be affected the most, but when the moon covers the sun everything should balance out.

"In some of the cities where we get totality and we get dark we'll see the street lights come on," says Walshe. "We'll also have up to 10 degrees of temperature drop in the totality. So we anticipate maybe less air conditioning going on."

Plenty of staff will monitor everything from the operations center.

"We'll be ready no matter what because we've got plenty of power for everybody in the valley," adds Walshe.

This event is important because Fiedler says recreation sites generate billions of dollars of revenue each year across TVA's coverage area.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for us to give a good first impression of TVA public lands and the people of the Tennessee Valley," says Fiedler.

Also, while posting on social media during the eclipse use the hash tag #TVAfun to enter a photo contest. Fiedler says you'll be entered to win a GoPro camera!

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