Saturday, November 22, 2014 · 5:13 a.m.

Raccoon Mountain Visitors Center to close for the summer

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The Tennessee Valley Authority announced that because of maintenance work, the visitors center on Raccoon Mountain will have to be closed during the busy summer season.

Major equipment improvements and maintenance at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Plant will require the temporary closure.

TVA released the following information regarding the closing:

The Raccoon Mountain Visitors Center and parking lot will close beginning Monday, April 1 and will reopen in the fall of 2013, allowing TVA to create a safe construction area while the power facility is upgraded.

To offer Raccoon Mountain visitors a quality recreation experience during this period, TVA is developing a new TVA history walking trail at the Laurel Point Recreation Area near the upper reservoir. The history trail, to open this spring, will feature archived photos illustrating the agency’s legacy and lasting impact on the Tennessee Valley. Several of the visitors center’s outdoor informational displays also will be moved to Laurel Point.

TVA is partnering with the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association to keep Raccoon Mountain’s award-winning trail system open this summer, with some limited access near the visitors center. The Nickajack Reservoir public access point at the base of Raccoon Mountain also remains open. More information and directions to Raccoon Mountain are available at www.tva.gov/sites/raccoonmt.htm.

“Our goal is to provide as many recreation opportunities as possible in this popular area, while also keeping the public safe during our construction work,” said John McCormick, senior vice president of TVA river operations and renewables. “Given the very limited room in and around our Raccoon Mountain facility, there will be ongoing activity and equipment staging taking place around the visitors center.”

In addition to the work on the generating units inside Raccoon Mountain, TVA will upgrade massive electric cables running up the mountain to a switchyard adjacent to the visitors center.

“While we have generating units offline for other work, it’s economical for us to do as many upgrades and maintenance as possible throughout the 35-year-old plant,” McCormick said. “Our goal is to position Raccoon Mountain to be a vital, reliable contributor to the TVA generation system for decades to come.”

This article is published with permission of NewsChannel 9.

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