The final section of the new Galway to Dublin motorway opened this morning - cutting the journey time between the two cities to approximately two hours.

The new 56km stretch of the M6 runs from Ballinasloe to the outskirts of Galway city and has been completed four months ahead of schedule.

Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey cut the ribbon on the new motorway east of Ballinasloe at 11am.

Built at a cost of €427m, the M6 is expected to save up to 30 minutes in journey time between Galway and Ballinasloe.

Motorists will pay a toll of €1.90 near Ballinasloe and €2.90 on the M4 Kinnegad toll.

There were no protests at this morning's opening as local farmers and householders met engineers from the motorway construction company in relation to repair work on any damage caused to roads and lands in the area.

Many road users have already used the route as it was opened temporarily during the recent flooding.