By Lillian Boyd

After experiencing website issues, the Feb. 7 deadline for the public to provide input on the environmental process to study the proposed 241 Toll Road extensions through San Clemente and parts of San Juan Capistrano has been extended to 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10.

The initial stages of the process are officially underway, as Caltrans has been accepting public comment and review of the South County Traffic Relief Effort.

The Relief Effort, which includes a series of proposed routes—some of which intend to extend the 241 through San Clemente and connect to the I-5 Freeway, while another is to extend Crown Valley Parkway to the 241—are intended to “improve north-south regional mobility in South Orange County and accommodate regional travel demand,” according to Caltrans.

Comments received during scoping will be taken into account in the drafting and preparation of the Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement. The initial public-comment period was set at 30 days. The period was extended to 60 days after San Clemente Mayor Dan Bane had implored Caltrans and the TCA to provide more time during the holidays.

On Dec. 13, Caltrans, in cooperation with TCA, issued a Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report to announce the public scoping period was extended a second time until Feb. 7, for an overall 90-day period. After sctre.org experienced website issues, Caltrans announced another extension for Feb. 10.

Initially, there was a total of 24 overall ideas for the project, but those have been narrowed down to 11 alternative proposals—including a no-build option—all of which will eventually go through environmental and engineering studies.

The proposed options that could potentially impact San Clemente and San Juan include alternatives 13, 14, 17, 21, 22 and 23.
Alternative 13 would have the 241 extension come through San Juan Capistrano and cut west to connect to the I-5.

Alternative 17 would similarly have the 241 travel through San Juan and continue south into San Clemente, connecting to the I-5 through Shorecliffs.
Alternative 14 is proposed to extend down near the western border of Rancho Mission Viejo, cross over La Pata and join the freeway by Avenida Pico.

Alternative 21 comprises two separate roadway segments, with the first one extending Los Patrones Parkway from Cow Camp Road to Avenida La Pata. “The second segment would provide a median-to-median, high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane connector from SR 73 to I-5,” according to Relief Effort.

Alternative 22, a road alignment plan that would connect the new Los Patrones Parkway from Cow Camp Road to Avenida La Pata, running along the east side of the Prima Deschecha Landfill.

Alternative 23, which has a few potential components to it, would extend the managed lanes—High Occupancy Toll lanes and High Occupancy Vehicle lanes—on the I-5, from Pico to the Basilone Road interchange.

To submit public comment, email scoping@sctre.org or send a letter addressed thusly: Attn.: Env/SCTRE Scoping, Caltrans District 12, 1750 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705.

Public comments that are submitted will be reviewed by both the TCA and Caltrans.

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