IRVINE, Calif. - October 13, 2011 -- The Board of Directors of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency voted today to develop an engineering plan, complete environmental assessments and develop a finance strategy to build a four-mile segment of the 241 Toll Road from the current terminus at Oso Parkway to the vicinity of Ortega Highway. The agency will also continue to pursue the balance of the alignment that connects to I-5.
"When I began as Chairman of the agency this year, my goal was to get the process of completing the 241 moving forward again. This approach makes sense to me," said Chairman Bill Campbell. He also invited those in the environmental community to participate in the environmental assessments that will be undertaken as part of the initial planning.
Board member Pat Bates echoed his sentiment by adding that all parties in support and opposition to the project should meet during the process. "The solution is here and we can find a win-win," said Bates.
The $3.9 million analysis is estimated to take 12 months.
Representatives from the Surfrider Foundation and the Natural Resources Defense Council spoke against the proposal. In support of the proposal were speakers representing the Orange County Taxpayers Association, South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the South Orange County Economic Coalition, Southern California Association of Governments and the Orange County Transportation Authority.
ABOUT COMPLETION OF THE 241
Connecting the 241 Toll Road to Interstate 5 near Basilone Road has been part of a comprehensive county, state and federal transportation planning effort for more than 30 years. It was designed to plan for expected growth in the region, alleviate future traffic congestion and accommodate the need for mobility, access, goods movement on I-5 through South Orange County. When completed, SR 241 will provide a desperately needed alternative to Interstate 5, serving the 21 million residents of San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties.
SR 241 has been included in the regional transportation plan for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) since 1991. The alignment for the road was selected from 19 alternatives that were studied by a collaborative of state and federal agencies. Although the alignment determined to be least environmentally damaging and practicable was rejected by the California Coastal Commission, efforts continue to modify the project so agreement can be reached on completing this vitally important alternate route. Because the pending traffic problem isn't going to disappear, TCA is reaching out to stakeholders on all sides of the issue to find a viable solution on a new route for the 241. Given projections for traffic growth in our region, traffic on I-5 in South Orange County will equal the traffic levels on the 91 Freeway today severely impacting daily commuters, business trips as well as the flow of commerce in Southern California.
ABOUT THE TOLL ROADS
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County's 67-mile public toll road system. Fifty-one miles of the system are complete, including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. Elected officials from surrounding cities and county supervisorial districts are appointed to serve on each agency's board of directors. Public oversight ensures that the interests of local communities and drivers are served and that TCA continues to meet the region's growing need for congestion-free transportation alternatives.