Tennessee law enforcement plans for chaos on total solar eclipse day


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - As families put their finishing touches on plans for the total solar eclipse, law enforcement agencies across Middle Tennessee are preparing to keep them safe.

More than 200,000 more people are expected in Middle Tennessee Aug. 21.

Lt. Bill Miller with the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the weekend leading up to eclipse day as well as a couple days after are all expected to have a high volume of traffic on the road.

“It's going to be all hands on deck for sure, and that's not a cliché,” Miller said. “We have troopers assigned to what we refer to as our 'strike team.' Those troopers are rapid response units that come from other districts to Middle Tennessee in a rapid amount of time.”

While distracted driving is already a big concern on a typical day, Lt. Miller fears that adding this once-in-a-lifetime experience will make roads much more dangerous.

“Do not stop along the interstate for selfies," Miller said. "Do not do that at all. Do not try to film or record the eclipse while you're driving."

“We certainly want to participate in something that happens just once in our lifetime,” said Nashville dad Evan Austill.

Austill and his 5-year-old daughter Evanmiller are getting their eclipse day plans ready. He said they’ve already watched the eclipse movie offered at the Adventure Science Center.

“I'm sure Nashville is pretty used to hosting a big crowd," Austill said. "I'm sure they'll do a good job with crowd management, they generally do."

Sumner County is one of the best places to see the total solar eclipse.

“There's going to be a lot of people here," Gallatin Police Officer Janelle Wilson said. "It's going to be a crazy day."

Wilson said they will have all 70 of their officers on duty during the Aug. 21 eclipse.

“Every officer comes in and does what they're supposed to do, what they're trained to do, and we just go forward with that,” Wilson said.

TDOT reps said help trucks will run expanded routes on all Nashville interstates on the day of the eclipse with an extra four from Memphis on standby for Nashville needs.

TDOT will also have several extra trucks to respond to crashes and construction backups.

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