Beginning this month, Orange County's toll road agency will monitor water in creeks that would be crossed by a proposed extension of the 241 Toll Road through north San Diego County.
The Transportation Corridor Agencies have hired an engineering firm to test water for metals, urban runoff and other roadway contaminants during storms at eight spots along San Juan, Cristianitos, San Mateo and San Onofre creeks, officials said Tuesday. These creeks will be monitored for two years in wet weather months before potential construction of the 16-mile road that would connect Rancho Santa Margarita and Interstate 5 at Camp Pendleton.
These preliminary measurements will provide baseline pollutant levels; the creeks would then be tested for five years after the road is built, agency spokeswoman Lisa Telles said. The agency has a separate water quality plan to be followed during construction of the proposed road. Plans for the toll road were rejected by the state Coastal Commission in February but are now under review by federal officials.
The tests are designed to bolster the controversial project's state and federal water quality certification.
-- Susannah Rosenblatt