CONSTRUCTION work on the first major road project since the economic crash is expected to begin by the end of the year.
The 60km Gort to Tuam motorway in Co Galway has moved a step closer after the Government agreed to provide funding to help build the road.
It will cost up to €550m and take three years to complete.
Hundreds of construction jobs are expected to be created and the notorious bottleneck of Claregalway will be bypassed.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) said it was "good news" for motorists, adding that the road would not be tolled.
"This decision allows us to re-engage with the preferred bidder and bring the project forward," a spokesman said, adding: "It is a significant step."
The project was first announced in 2006 in the Transport 21 programme, but the downturn meant that it was shelved, along with other major projects, including Metro North and the DART underground.
It will be financed under a public private partnership (PPP), meaning the State will provide some funding, with the rest of it being provided by the private sector and a €170m loan from the European Investment Bank.
It is understood that negotiations with the preferred bidder – the Direct Route consortium, which includes AIB, Sisk and Sons and Roadbridge – will resume now that the State has agreed to provide money to part-fund construction.
The sum offered is not being made public, but it has been approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
The last major road schemes to be completed were the upgrade of Dublin's M50 and the M3 motorway, which cost €1bn each and opened in 2010.
The Gort to Tuam motorway is part of the Atlantic corridor, and means there will be a motorway from Limerick to Tuam, serving both Shannon and Galway.
However, there will be no service area on the route as plans to build one were rejected by An Bord Pleanala.
Junior education minister and local TD Ciaran Cannon said it was expected that work would begin before the end of the year.
"A lot of doubt had been cast over the future of this project. with some speculating that it might never come to fruition," he said, adding: "The project is now firmly back on track."
The N18 to N17 Gort to Tuam link will bypass Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam.
Land for the motorway project has already been purchased.