Confirmation of An Bord Pleanála’s green light for the purchase of land for the €231 million bypass has been welcomed in Kerry.
The poor state of the current road, especially the stretch between Macroom and Ballyvourney, is seen as a major obstacle to development in Kerry.
Kerry tourism and industrial interests have claimed the twisting road — described as the worst section of national primary road in Ireland — as a deterrent to investment and has turned off potential investors over the years.
Despite cutbacks, Kerry politicians now want the bypass to proceed as a priority and have urged senior officials to continue lobbying on the issue.
“We will keep the pressure on,” promised Mr Curran, after representations from councillors.
The bypass will include 22km of dual carriageway, five roundabouts and more than 20 bridges between Ballyvourney and Coolcower, on the Cork side of Macroom.
Construction is expected to take two years.
The bypass will further enhance the N22 road between Cork and Tralee, which has seen major improvements in recent years and will cut the journey time between Kerry and Cork city.
Planning of the Macroom bypass is much further advanced than the proposed 26km Killarney bypass which has been put on the long finger, due to cutbacks.
A route has been chosen for the Killarney route but work is not expected to start for several years, according to Kerry County Council.