Two meetings are scheduled this month to gather public comments on routing a new freeway segment through the largely undeveloped ranch lands at the county's southern border.
County officials are looking at up to 15 alternative alignments for a 10-mile stretch of the proposed Foothill Freeway, which would take the freeway south from Oso Parkway to the county border or beyond.
By gauging public opinion, county officials hope to narrow the route choices to a few, which would be analyzed for their environmental impact, said Robert Peterson of the county transportation planning office.
Nearly all of the proposed routes run south through the Coto de Caza and Rancho Mission Viejo area to Ortega Highway. From there, one follows San Juan Creek through San Juan Capistrano. Another goes through San Clemente in the Avenida Pico area. Some terminate at the San Diego Freeway near San Onofre State Beach, while at least two others traverse the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base and connect to the freeway farther south.