Orange County Toll Roads
Your guide to navigating the toll roads of Orange County, California
Orange County, California. The land of fun, sun, and ‘The OC.’ The southernmost county in California is home to almost 3 million people and is situated just south of Los Angeles. It includes Anaheim, Laguna Beach, Irvine, and Huntington Beach.
Known for its great weather, laid-back surfer vibes, and of course, Disneyland, Orange County is one of America’s top vacation destinations. But what you may not know is that Orange County is also known as the toll road capital of California, with over 60 miles of toll roads spanning the region.
Although most of these toll roads are optional, they provide a safe and faster route to many of the OC’s most popular spots.
So, let’s look at how to navigate and pay for those Orange County tolls.
Major toll roads in Orange County
Toll Roads of Orange County have less traffic and an all-electronic-payment system that allows you to visit the area’s hotspots without stopping. The Toll Roads are owned by the State of California and are operated by The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA).
The 73-toll road (California State Route 73) in Orange County runs for 17.8 miles from Interstate 405 in Costa Mesa to Interstate 5.
This toll road provides easy access to the University of California, Irvine.
State Route 133 runs from the 241 Toll Road on the border of Lake Forest through to Interstate 405. It begins at SR1 in Laguna Beach (near the beautiful Pacific Ocean) and runs through to the San Joaquin hills. Once you continue south past this point, the road becomes untolled.
This toll road also passes through Laguna Canyon, which lies between the coast and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park (a real hiking gem of Southern California).
California State Route 241 runs from State Route 91 to Oso Parkway in Rancho Santa Margarita 241 and is tolled for its entire length. The 241 is one of the highest elevated highways in Orange County. It provides stunning views of the Santa Ana Mountains as it passes through 12 different cities and regions.
The 261 toll road runs from Santiago Canyon Road in the city of Orange, near Irvine Lake, through to Interstate 5. The roadway passes The Market Place – an outdoor shopping center on the border of Irvine and Tustin.
91 Express Lanes
The 91 Express Lanes is an 18-mile toll road that was built to ease travel between Orange and Riverside counties. The lanes provide a safe, time-saving alternative on the 91 Freeway.
Four express lanes on the 91 allow you to drive the entire length of the Freeway or alternatively, enter or exit at the county line near Green River Road.
The Express Lanes use congestion management pricing to adjust tolls quarterly and is based on the number of vehicles using the roadway during that period.
How to Pay for Orange County Toll Roads
The Toll Roads and 91 Express Lanes are equipped with All-Electronic-Tolling (AET), which means those loose coins you have lying around won’t be of use on these toll roads. However, you can
pay with cash at participating retailers (7-Eleven, Walgreens etc.). But why go through that hassle when you have Uproad?
For toll roads in the OC, you’ll have to pay within 5 days before or 5 days after using The Toll Roads.
For toll roads in Orange County, you basically have three options to pay:
The simplest and most convenient way to pay for Orange County tolls. All you need is your phone!
Download the Uproad App for your iPhone or Android, and you’ll be exploring the best sights of Southern California in no time.
Uproad allows you to pre-load an account balance that automatically deducts the toll cost as you drive. With the app, you can also calculate costs before you travel and track usage and expenses on the go. Picture yourself flying along those California highways in a VW convertible, under the sun, with the wind in your hair…and not a single toll to worry about!
Another way to pay for Orange County tolls is with a FasTrak sticker or transponder.
Upon opening a Fastrak account, you’ll receive a free sticker with a small antenna embedded inside. Like the hardcase transponder, as you pass through an electronic toll booth, the equipment will read the sticker and automatically charge your account.
Once you’ve applied to open a Fastrak account, it can take about a week until you receive the transponder.
So, if you’re planning on visiting Orange County very soon, or you don’t want the hassle of ordering and installing a transponder, then download Uproad instead.
Fastrak can be used across all toll roads in California – but keep in mind that it won’t work across other States in the US. In the case that you live outside of California or are planning a trip across multiple states – the Uproad app will be more beneficial.
Another option is to pay online if you've traveled the toll roads of Orange County and don't have Uproad or a Fastrak account. Head to the website to pay for your toll with your license plate details (Note: you must pay 5 days before or after tolling).
What happens if you miss an Orange County toll?
If you miss and fail to pay in time for the toll in Orange County, California, you’ll unfortunately receive a violation in the mail. You’ll have to pay for the original toll plus a $57.50 fine.
The 91 Express Lane tolls must be paid for within 21 days, or you’ll have to pay the original toll plus a $25 fine.
Driving on Orange County toll roads can save you time and provide access to some of the area’s greatest spots.