Total solar eclipse expected to draw tens of thousands of people to Jefferson City

Total solar eclipse expected to draw...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Capital City is gearing up for an estimated 50,000 visitors during this summer's total solar eclipse.

In a special report Monday, ABC 17 News detailed how Columbia is preparing for two minutes and 37 seconds of complete darkness on Aug. 21.

Like Columbia, Jefferson City is right in the path of total darkness.

Thursday, Capital Eclipse organizers held the first public meeting on what to expect during the eclipse and the three days of events leading up to it.

The main viewing areas will be the State Capitol's south lawn, the North Jefferson City Recreation Area across the Missouri River and the Riverside Park Amphitheatre.

Organizers are preparing for it similarly to the annual Salute to America celebration that usually hosts about 70,000 people, according to event coordinator Jill Snodgrass.

Starting after the first of April, organizers will work with the Missouri Department of Transportation, the highway patrol and the city's planning department to figure out the best way to get visitors in and out of the city safely and smoothly.

Snodgrass said there will also likely be multiple mobile command centers stationed around town to help first responders and law enforcement.

"You have to have a mega-plan," Snodgrass said. "And we have to put together the safety and security teams and it's decided how traffic management is going to go. ... MoDOT and the highway patrol and the Jefferson City Police Department will actually--and the sheriff's department, of course, will actually be putting that plan together."

Organizers are also working with Amtrak and JEFFTRAN to put together a transportation plan for the day.

Monday, the City Council is set to vote on easing regulations for ride-sharing companies, which may allow companies such as Uber and Lyft to operate in the Capital City as cab companies are expected to be at capacity on the day of the eclipse.

About 40 percent of the city's hotel rooms are already booked for the event, according to the Jefferson City Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

You can find more information on Capital Eclipse and the full event schedule here.

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