SOUTH COUNTY : Work Is Under Way on Leg of Toll Road

Construction has begun on the first leg of the 30-mile, $746-million Foothill Transportation Corridor, which will eventually stretch from Irvine to San Clemente and be the longest of the county's three proposed toll roads.

Grading is now under way on a 3-mile stretch in the Foothill Ranch area just outside the Lake Forest city limits. Work on that span of roadway, which will run from Portola Parkway north to Alton Avenue, was started in November 1990, said Mike Stockstill, a Transportation Corridor Agencies spokesman.

Stockstill said that portion of the toll road could be open to four lanes--two traveling in each direction--by the spring of 1993.

For construction and planning purposes, TCA directors have broken the 30-mile toll road into two 15-mile segments, called the northern and southern segments. The southern segment, which will run from Oso Parkway in Mission Viejo to San Onofre State Park south of San Clemente, still awaits environmental approvals.

The 15-mile link from Oso Parkway north to the interchange with the Eastern Transportation Corridor in Irvine is considered the northern segment. The 3-mile stretch now under construction is part of a 7.6-mile segment in the middle of the northern leg that was earmarked to be built first.

When completed, the entire 7.6-mile segment will reach from Antonio Parkway in Rancho Santa Margarita to the Portola Parkway near the Foothill Ranch, Stockstill said.

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