A controversial plan to extend Orange County, Calif.’s state Route 241 Foothills-South toll road through a coastal state park has been dropped following a legal settlement between the region’s toll-road authorities and a coalition of environmental groups. The agreement ends 15 years of lawsuits aimed at blocking the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ planned $200-million project, which would have extended the existing toll road 12 miles to I-5 in San Diego County. Opponents contended that the extension’s environmental impact statement failed to adequately consider potential damage to a park that attracts approximately 2.4 million visitors a year. TCA continued to pursue the project, despite a 2008 decision by the California Coastal Commission and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce that deemed the state Route 241 extension inconsistent with coastal protection policies. In exchange for dropping the Foothills-South project and another, 5.5-mile extension proposal, TCA will be allowed to explore alternative I-5 routes that avoid San Onofre State Beach and other environmentally and culturally sensitive lands designated in the agreement. 