California toll road hits environmental roadblocks

| 3/1/2007

Planning for the Foothill South Toll Road has hit enough obstacles to cause a construction delay until at least 2011.

The proposed 16-mile toll road that would bisect the San Onofre State Beach is already two years behind schedule, thanks to problems obtaining environmental permits and litigation. As a result, the governmental body behind the project - Transportation Corridor Agencies - has backed off the accelerator.

"We've sat down and taken a hard look and realized we didn't have enough time to do these permits," spokeswoman Jennifer Seaton told the Orange County Register.

Activist groups, including the Sierra Club, joined forces in an early stage of the proposal to fight the toll road through an area described as many as one of the most beautiful places in the U.S.

Regional planning officials say the proposed $875 million road would provide congestion relief as an alternative to Interstate 5 in Southern California.