California State Route 241

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Toll plate California.svg

State Route 241 Toll marker

State Route 241 Toll

SR 241 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by Caltrans and TCA
Length24.534 mi[1] (39.484 km)
Existed1993–present
Major junctions
South endOso Parkway and Los Patrones Parkway near Las Flores
Major intersections
SR 133 Toll near Irvine

SR 261 Toll in Orange
North end SR 91 in Anaheim
Location
CountryUnited States
StateCalifornia
CountiesOrange
Highway system
SR 238 SR 242

State Route 241 (SR 241) is a state highway in Orange County, California that is a toll road for its entire length. Its southern half from near Las Flores to near Irvine is the Foothill Transportation Corridor, while its northern half to SR 91 on the AnaheimYorba Linda border forms part of the Eastern Transportation Corridor system with SR 133 and SR 261.

SR 241 is one of the highest elevated highways in Orange County and provides scenic views of both the Santa Ana Mountains and the cites below, passing through 12 different cities and regions along its length.

Legislatively, SR 241 is defined to run south to I-5 at San Onofre State Beach on the border with San Diego County. A plan to construct this portion was opposed due to environmental concerns. The county maintains the toll-free Los Patrones Parkway that extends the right-of-way south to Rancho Mission Viejo, but local officials do not intend to hand over control of the parkway to the state.

Route description[edit]

SR 241 northbound in Rancho Santa Margarita.

SR 241 runs along two named tollways: its southern half is the 12-mile (19 km) Foothill Transportation Corridor, and its northern half is part of the Eastern Transportation Corridor.

The toll road begins at its interchange with Oso Parkway near Las Flores, while the right-of-way continues south as Los Patrones Parkway. SR 241 then heads northward through Rancho Santa Margarita and Trabuco Canyon near O'Neill Regional Park. It then passes through the eastern areas of Mission Viejo and Lake Forest before paralleling the rugged foothills in Irvine. It then runs along the easternmost edge of Irvine, with scenic views on either side, before meeting the eastern terminus of SR 133. SR 241 continues north as part of the Eastern Transportation Corridor following this interchange. SR 241 then meets SR 261 and Santiago Canyon Road (CR S18) near Irvine Lake before turning northeastward towards its northern terminus at SR 91 on the AnaheimYorba Linda border near the Santa Ana River.[2]

SR 241 is part of the California Freeway and Expressway System,[3] as well as[4] the National Highway System,[5] a network of highways that are considered essential to the country's economy, defense, and mobility by the Federal Highway Administration.[6]

History[edit]

The toll road was constructed by the Transportation Corridor Agencies, also known as the TCA, and is owned by the state of California. Construction was financed with bonds, which are repaid with toll revenues. Taxpayers are not responsible for repaying any debt if toll revenues fall short.[7]

Future[edit]

Proposed extension[edit]

SR 241 was planned to extend from its current southern terminus at Oso Parkway south to I-5 at the San Diego County border near San Onofre. This southern extension, known as Foothill-South, was intended to be the final piece in Orange County's planned 67-mile (108 km) network of public toll roads.[8] The extension would have provided an alternate route from SR 91 to I-5 for those traveling from Riverside County and through southeast Orange County, south to San Diego County.[9]

Proponents of the project included a coalition of chambers of commerce, who argued it would provide greater access for communities such as Foothill Ranch, Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores, Coto de Caza, Wagon Wheel and Rancho Mission Viejo. Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) originally projected that traffic would increase 60 percent by 2025, and estimated that Foothill-South would alleviate traffic on I-5 by 2.6 to 8 percent. The proposed route was selected by a collaborative group that included the Federal Highway Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Fish & Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers and Caltrans. Initially, the plan would have placed the final 4 miles (6.4 km) of the roadway on Camp Pendleton Marine Base, as well as through a section of San Onofre State Beach, which is leased from the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Corps reserved the right to grant easements for rights of way when the lease with the California Department of Parks and Recreation was signed in 1971. Eventually, spokespeople from Camp Pendleton would deny permission to build the road on the base but approved the road's construction through the portion of the base that hosts the state park.[10][11] The TCA Board of Directors, local elected officials who represent the areas adjacent to the toll road routes, certified the project's Environmental Impact Report in 2006.

Many conservationists, environmental groups, and some residents of San Clemente opposed the extension to San Onofre State Beach. Former California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed two lawsuits in 2006, one on behalf of the Native American Heritage Commission. A third lawsuit was filed by a coalition of several groups, including Sierra Club, the Surfrider Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council.[12] It was later revealed that the TCA funded a study in support of removing the California gnatcatcher from the federal Endangered Species list,[13] which would have made it easier to build the toll road extension.

On February 6, 2008, the California Coastal Commission voted 8-2[14] to reject the planned extension through San Onofre State Beach. The TCA appealed the Coastal Commission's decision to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.[15] On December 18, 2008, the Department of Commerce announced that it would uphold the California Coastal Commission's ruling that found the TCA's proposed extension inconsistent with the California Coastal Act.[16] In a release issued by the Department of Commerce, the DOC noted that at least one reasonable alternative to the project existed, and that the project was not necessary in the interest of national security.[17]

In November 2016, the TCA reached a legal settlement ending the 15-year dispute with the more than a dozen environmental organizations and the State of California. The settlement guaranteed that any roadway would avoid the Donna O'Neill Land Conservatory, the San Onofre State Beach Park, and other environmentally sensitive areas. The environmental organizations have agreed not to sue the TCA over other potential alignments that connect the 241 Toll Road to the I-5 freeway as long as the alignments do not enter the "environmental avoidance area."[18]

Los Patrones Parkway[edit]

Rancho Mission Viejo, which has publicly condemned all the proposed alignments of the SR 241 extensions, helped to fund the construction of a 4.5-mile (7.2 km) four-lane toll-free freeway known as Los Patrones Parkway. The road, maintained by Orange County, follows the exact alignment as the proposed Tesoro Extension of SR 241 between Oso Parkway and Cow Camp Road. Rancho Mission Viejo provided $85 million of the total estimated cost of $100 million to construct the road. Los Patrones Parkway also includes a new multi-purpose pathway on the west side of the highway between Oso Parkway and Chiquita Canyon Drive, two wildlife crossings under the road, wildlife fencing, and replanting of over 100 acres of vegetation. However, local environmental groups expressed concerns that the TCA may acquire Los Patrones Parkway in the future to extend SR 241 southward.[19]

View looking north from Oso Parkway as Los Patrones Parkway transitions into SR 241 in unincorporated Orange County.

On August 10, 2018, the Orange County Public Works began construction on a $30 million project to turn a section of Oso Parkway into a bridge to allow a direct connection between SR 241 and Los Patrones Parkway. The new interchange was completed in mid-January 2021.[20]

Los Patrones Parkway was built in two phases. Phase 1 of the road between Oso Parkway and Chiquita Canyon Drive opened on September 12, 2018.[21] However, due to significant rainfall, the opening of Phase 2 of the road between Chiquita Canyon Drive and Cow Camp Road was delayed twice from the planned deadline of late-2018,[22][23] and did not open until October 17, 2019.[24]

Meanwhile, the TCA continued to explore alternative options to extend the toll road through San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente to I-5. After facing opposition, the TCA Board of Directors voted unanimously on March 12, 2020, to support a proposal to extend the county's toll-free Los Patrones Parkway south to Avenida La Pata near the San Clemente city limit.[25]

In 2021, state senator Patricia Bates introduced Senate Bill 760 to remove the segment between Oso Parkway and I-5 segment from SR 241's legal definition, which would permanently kill any plan to convert Los Patrones Parkway to a toll road or any other plan to extend SR 241.[26][27]

Tolls[edit]

SR 241 employs a barrier toll system, where drivers are charged flat-rate tolls based on what particular toll booths they pass through. Since May 13, 2014, the road has been using an all-electronic, open road tolling system.[28] And on October 2, 2019, the license plate tolling program, under the brand name "ExpressAccount", was discontinued.[29] Drivers may still pay using the FasTrak electronic toll collection system or via a one time payment online. Drivers must pay within 5 days after their trip on the toll road or they will be assessed a toll violation.[30]

There are two mainline toll gantries: the Tomato Springs Mainline gantry just south of the SR 133 interchange, and the Windy Ridge Mainline gantry just south of the SR 91 interchange. As of July 2022, both gantries and the northbound exit and southbound entrance at Portola Parkway-North use a congestion pricing scheme based on the time of day for FasTrak users, while non-FasTrak drivers must pay the maximum toll ($4.40 at Windy Ridge, $4.20 at Tomato Springs, and $3.16 at Portola Parkway-North) regardless of the day and time. Tolls are also collected at a flat rate for all drivers at selected on-and off-ramps: the southbound exits and northbound entrances of Oso Pkwy ($2.59) and Antonio Parkway ($1.81); and the northbound exits and southbound entrances of Los Alisos Boulevard ($1.70), Portola Parkway-South ($1.81), and Alton Parkway ($2.69).[31]

Exit list[edit]

Under the official exit list by Caltrans, mileage is measured from the unconstructed southern terminus at Interstate 5 near San Clemente.[32] The entire route is in Orange County.

Locationmi
[32][1][33][34]
kmExit
[32]
DestinationsNotes
Las Flores14.5523.42Los Patrones Parkway southContinuation beyond Oso Parkway; FasTrak toll gantry immediately north of the Oso Parkway overpass
14Oso ParkwayTolled southbound exit and northbound entrance
Rancho Santa Margarita17.5428.2318Antonio ParkwayTolled southbound exit and northbound entrance
18.4929.7619Auto Center Drive / Santa Margarita ParkwayAuto Center Drive not signed northbound
Rancho Santa MargaritaMission Viejo line20.0832.3220Los Alisos BoulevardTolled northbound exit and southbound entrance
Lake Forest21.8035.0822APortola ParkwaySigned as exit 22 northbound; tolled northbound exit and southbound entrance
22.4436.1122BLake Forest DriveSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
23.4237.6923Alton ParkwayTolled northbound exit and southbound entrance
Irvine24.9740.1925Portola Parkway – IrvineTolled northbound exit and southbound entrance
Tomato Springs Mainline gantry
27.4344.1427


SR 133 Toll south to I-5
Tolled southbound exit and northbound entrance; northern terminus of SR 133
Orange32.5452.3733


Santiago Canyon Road (CR S18) / Chapman Avenue (CR S25) to SR 261 Toll south
32.6452.5332

SR 261 Toll south – Irvine
Northbound access from exit 33; northern terminus of SR 261
36.1058.10Windy Ridge Mainline gantry
AnaheimYorba Linda line39.0862.8939 SR 91 (Riverside Freeway) – Riverside, Los AngelesSigned as exits 39A (east) and 39B (west); exits 40-41B on SR 91
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Los Patrones Parkway exits[edit]

This exit list consists of the county-maintained Los Patrones Parkway that local officials do not intend to turn over to Caltrans or TCA for a possible extension of the SR 241 toll road. Thus, the state maintains no postmiles. The entire route is in Orange County.

LocationmikmExitDestinationsNotes
Rancho Mission ViejoCow Camp RoadAt-grade intersection
Chiquita Canyon DriveSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
Las Flores14Oso ParkwayNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; last free northbound exit before start of SR 241


SR 241 Toll north – Riverside
Continuation beyond Oso Parkway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b California Department of Transportation. "State Truck Route List". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation. Archived from the original (XLS file) on June 30, 2015. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Microsoft; Nokia (February 11, 2011). "SR 241" (Map). Bing Maps. Microsoft. Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  3. ^ "Article 2 of Chapter 2 of Division 1". California Streets and Highways Code. Sacramento: California Office of Legislative Counsel. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  4. ^ "National Highway System : Los Angeles--Long Beach--Anaheim, CA" (PDF). Federal Highway Administration. United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  5. ^ Federal Highway Administration (March 25, 2015). National Highway System: Los Angeles, CA (PDF) (Map). Scale not given. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved September 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Natzke, Stefan; Neathery, Mike & Adderly, Kevin (June 20, 2012). "What is the National Highway System?". National Highway System. Washington, DC: Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  7. ^ "Toll Road Background page".
  8. ^ February 4, 2008 "Foothill South: Developments to date for proposed toll road extension," The Orange County Register
  9. ^ Elmahrek, Adam (March 11, 2019). "The battle to tame O.C. traffic now rages over fees for high-priced consultants". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  10. ^ The Foothill-South Toll Road: Fact vs. Fiction
  11. ^ Toll road must not interfere with base mission
  12. ^ January 3, 2007 "Student protests 241 expansion," Orange County Register
  13. ^ Clarke, Chris (September 21, 2016). "This Tiny Bird Scored a Win for Science". Redefine. KCET-TV. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  14. ^ Feb 07, 2008 "Panel rejects toll road through San Onofre State Beach", LA Times
  15. ^ Oct. 29, 2008 "241 toll road extension proposal", Green OC (The Orange County Register) Archived 2008-12-21 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Rosenblatt, Susannah (December 19, 2008). "O.C. toll road hits dead end in D.C." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  17. ^ "Decision and Findings" (PDF). US Secretary of Commerce. December 18, 2008. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  18. ^ "Landmark Agreement Ends 15-Year Dispute over SR 241 Toll Road Extension | the Toll Roads".
  19. ^ Shimura, Tomoya (November 6, 2015). "Opponents and environmental groups are closely monitoring roadway construction to the 241 toll road". Orange County Register. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  20. ^ Mcrea, Heather (August 10, 2018). "Construction starts to turn Oso Parkway into bridge, connect soon-to-open Los Patrones with 241 toll road". MediaNews Group, Inc. The Orange County Register. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  21. ^ Ponsi, Lou (September 12, 2018). "Los Patrones Parkway opens in hopes of easing South County commutes". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  22. ^ Raymundo, Shawn (February 8, 2019). "Weather Delays Completion of Los Patrones Parkway". The Capistrano Dispatch. The Capistrano Dispatch. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  23. ^ Raymundo, Shawn (September 27, 2019). "Los Patrones Sees Further Delays". The Capistrano Dispatch. The Capistrano Dispatch. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  24. ^ Park, Jeong (October 18, 2019). "Second segment of Los Patrones Parkway opens in Rancho Mission Viejo". MediaNews Group Inc. The Orange County Register. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  25. ^ "TCA Board Approves Los Patrones Extension, Ends Toll Road Plans". San Clemente Times. March 12, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  26. ^ "SB-760 State highways: State Route 241: reduction". California State Legislature. February 19, 2021. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  27. ^ "Bill to Block Toll Road Through San Clemente Clears First Step". San Clemente Times. May 6, 2021. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
  28. ^ "All Electronic Tolling". Transportation Corridor Agencies. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  29. ^ "ExpressAccount". Transportation Corridor Agencies. October 2, 2019. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  30. ^ "Ways to Pay Tolls". Transportation Corridor Agencies. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  31. ^ "The Toll Roads Rate Card" (PDF). Transportation Corridor Agencies. July 1, 2022. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  32. ^ a b c "State Route 241 Freeway Interchanges" (PDF). California Numbered Exit Uniform System. California Department of Transportation. February 8, 2019. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  33. ^ California Department of Transportation (July 2007). "Log of Bridges on State Highways". Sacramento: California Department of Transportation.
  34. ^ California Department of Transportation, All Traffic Volumes on CSHS, 2005 and 2006

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata

Foothill-South[edit]