California State Route 261

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For the earlier highway signed as Route 261, see California State Route 261 (1965-1972).

State Route 261 marker

State Route 261
Eastern Toll Road
Route information
Defined by Streets and Highways Code § 561
Maintained by Caltrans and TCA
Length: 6.12 mi[citation needed] (9.85 km)
Existed: 1987[citation needed] – present
Major junctions
South end: Walnut Avenue in Irvine, California
North end: SR 241 near Orange
Highway system
SR 260 SR 262

State Route 261 (SR 261) is a tollway in the U.S. state of California that is part of the Eastern Transportation Corridor system. It connects State Route 241 with Interstate 5. However, Route 261 does not directly connect with I-5; surface streets must be used to make the connection; continuing south on Route 261 leads directly into a high-speed controlled-access portion of Jamboree Road.

Route description[edit]

SR 261 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System.[1]

The southern end of SR 261 is at an interchange with Jamboree Road near Walnut Avenue. SR 261 passes under I-5 but does not have an interchange with it. The freeway continues next to The Market Place, a mall in Irvine, before going through a toll plaza after the Irvine Boulevard interchange. Following this is the Portola Parkway exit, after which SR 261 briefly enters the city of Orange and has an interchange with Santiago Canyon Road (CR S18). In the middle of this interchange, SR 261 merges with SR 241; the latter continues north towards SR 91.[2]


The California State Legislature added SR 231 to the state highway system in 1988; it was a route from I-5 around the Tustin–Irvine boundary to SR 91.[3] In 1991, the Legislature renumbered part of SR 231 to be SR 261.[4] Five years later, SR 231 was renumbered to SR 241, and the southern terminus with I-5 was changed to become Walnut Avenue.[5]


SR 261 employs an open, barrier-based tolling system, with one mainline toll plaza and toll booths at selected on- and off-ramps. The toll road is equipped with the FasTrak electronic toll collection system. Patrons paying by cash are charged a more expensive rate.

Starting May 14, 2014, cash will no longer be accepted and the road will strictly use open road tolling only.[6] In addition to FasTrak, the Transportation Corridor Agencies will also use license plate tolling (under their brand name "ExpressAccount"), and a one time payment system for drivers to pay within 48 hours after their trip on the toll road.[7]

The following table lists the tolls at each of the tolled exits for passenger cars and other two-axle vehicles (as of July 1, 2014). Vehicles with more than two axles pay a higher toll at the Irvine Ranch Toll Plaza.[8]

Toll Booth FasTrak Toll-by-plate ExpressAccount One-time payment
Irvine Blvd Northbound Entrance: $1.43
Northbound Exit and
Southbound Entrance:
Northbound Entrance: $2.43
Northbound Exit and
Southbound Entrance:
Northbound Entrance: $2.43
Northbound Exit and
Southbound Entrance:
Price assumes 2-axle automobile.
Peak: $1.84
Pre/Post Peak: $1.84
Off-Peak: $1.43
Weekends: $1.43
Peak: $2.84
Pre/Post Peak: $2.84
Off-Peak: $2.43
Weekends: $2.43
All times: $2.84
Portola Pkwy
Southbound Exit and Entrance,
and Northbound Entrance
$1.43 $2.43 $2.43

Exit list[edit]

Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured on the road as it was when the route was established, based on the alignment that existed at the time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. R reflects a realignment in the route since then, M indicates a second realignment, L refers an overlap due to a correction or change, and T indicates postmiles classified as temporary (for a full list of prefixes, see the list of postmile definitions).[9] Segments that remain unconstructed or have been relinquished to local control may be omitted. The entire route is in Orange County.

Location Postmile
Destinations Notes
Irvine 0.00 Jamboree Road Continuation beyond Walnut Avenue
0.00 1 Walnut Avenue, Edinger Avenue No exit number northbound; south end of SR 261
0.24 I‑5 / Jamboree Road Northbound exit and southbound entrance
1.64 2 Irvine Boulevard
  Irvine Ranch toll plaza
2.85 3 Portola Parkway
Orange 6.04 6A Santiago Canyon Road, Chapman Avenue Northbound exit and southbound entrance
6.21 6B
SR 241 north – Riverside
Northbound exit and southbound entrance; north end of 261
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ CA Codes (shc:250-257)
  2. ^ Thomas Brothers (2008). Orange County Road Atlas (Map).
  3. ^ California State Assembly (1988). "An act to add Sections 188.4 and 531 to the Streets and Highways Code, relating to transportation". 1987–1988 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 1364. 
  4. ^ California State Assembly (1991). "An act...relating to highways". 1991–1992 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 775. 
  5. ^ California State Assembly (1996). "An act...relating to transportation...". 1995–1996 Session of the Legislature. Statutes of California. State of California. Ch. 1154. 
  6. ^ "All Electronic Tolling". Transportation Corridor Agencies. Retrieved October 12, 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Toll Roads Overview". Transportation Corridor Agencies. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Toll Roads Rate Card". July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Staff. "State Truck Route List" (XLS file). California Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  10. ^ California Department of Transportation, Log of Bridges on State Highways, July 2007
  11. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006
  12. ^ California Department of Transportation, California Numbered Exit Uniform System, SR-261 Northbound and SR-261 Southbound, accessed February 2008

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing