Work on the construction of new motorway between Gort and Tuam in Co Galway is to begin before the end of the year, after funding was approved for the project.

The Department of Public Expenditure has approved the allocation of money to cover the Exchequer element of the scheme.

The National Roads Authority says it will now re-engage with the preferred private contractor to complete the new N17/ N18 route.

The construction of a 57-km motorway - part of the so-called Atlantic Corridor on the west coast - will take thousands of vehicles out of Clarinbridge, Claregalway and Tuam each day.

It will be constructed as a Public Private Partnership project.

There will be no tolls on the route. Instead the State will pay the private contractors an annuity over 25 years.

The NRA says hundreds of jobs will be created during the construction process.

It is expected the motorway will take up to three years to complete at a cost of €550 million.

An environmental assessment of the proposed route has already been done, along with an archaeological review.

In addition, compulsory purchase orders required to develop the road have been completed.

The project stalled in 2010 when the bidders first selected as the private contractor were unable to secure funding to carry out the work, due to the economic downturn.

The contract was subsequently awarded to Direct Route - a group made up of several contractors including Lagan, Roadbridge and Sisk.

That consortium has already been involved in the construction of the Limerick Tunnel.

A spokesperson for Direct Route said this afternoon they were ready to start work on the Gort to Tuam motorway, pending completion of the procurement process.