At a June 19 hearing, OC's Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) is hoping to win approval from the San Diego Regional Water Control Board for a controversial extension of the 241 toll road that would cut a path between Oso Parkway and Ortega Highway.
According to TCA, the 5.5-mile extension would pose no harm to the environment thanks to four passages that would allow animals to cross under the highway, as well as costly water runoff and treatment systems that would prevent hazardous chemicals from spilling from the road into local groundwater. Environmental activists with groups such as Surfrider, however, say TCA's real plan is to connect the toll road to the coastline, a move that would ruin the celebrated Trestles surf-break at the nearby San Onofre State Beach. According to San Clemente Patch, the groups plan to show up at the upcoming hearing to protest the move.
Now, Surfrider has a powerful ally in its fight.
According to The Orange County Register and other sources, California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed suit last month to block the $200 million project, arguing that TCA is violating state environmental law. The lawsuit points out an obvious problem with the toll-road extension that would appear to support Surfrider's suspicions about the agencies' true intent: The extension would only make sense to build if it was part of a longer route that would connect with Interstate 5 near the beach, something the California Coastal Commission has already vetoed.
The extension is therefore a “road to nowhere,” says Harris.
TCA continues to deny that it has any plans to extend the toll road to the beach. Stay tuned!