A long-awaited regeneration project in Waterford city appears to be back on track following approval of €170 million in Government funding.

The North Quays project has had a number of false starts in recent years, but the City and County Council have been given the go-ahead to appoint new contractors to make progress on the scheme.

This evening the council announced that Harcourt Developments is engaging with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to create "an investment proposal for developing the site that would be capable, subject to due diligence and the necessary approvals, of attracting capital on a commercial basis".

It's envisaged that the long-disused eight-hectare parcel of land on the north bank of the river Suir near the city centre will eventually contain a new transport hub and relocated railway station, new access roads and a new bridge linking the north to the south of the river.

The site has previously been designated a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) by the Government and it's expected that the funding approved today by the Cabinet will allow work on the infrastructure elements to start next year and be complete by 2025.

The project previously stalled when the Saudi Arabian-backed Falcon Real Estate Development company didn't meet a deadline for funding commitments, and the City and County Council had to start looking for a new private investor.

The private element is expected to include a hotel and conference centre as well as retail space, offices and up to 300 apartments.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien said the decision is "good news" for Waterford.

"It enables the largest urban regeneration project in the country to begin, paving the way for Waterford to enhance its offering as an attractive place in which to live, work, visit and invest."

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar said the project will attract business into the region.

"The infrastructural project will create jobs and the development of the Strategic Development Zone will enhance the city's economic, commercial and tourist offering and improve the quality of life for people living in the city," he said.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said the project will provide for "sustainable transport-orientated development in Waterford city," with €70m of the funding coming from the Department of Transport.

National Transport Authority CEO Anne Graham said the investment will be key to the Waterford Transport Strategy.

"Combined with the delivery of BusConnects and CycleConnects, this project will provide more opportunities for the people of Waterford to make more sustainable choices for their travel."

Waterford City and County Council have also welcomed the news, with Mayor John O'Leary describing it as "a significant step" in bringing the development of the North Quays to reality.

Council CEO Michael Walsh said the announcement "underpins the Government's commitment" to one of the biggest investments ever in the southeast.