An Taoiseach Michéal Martin turned the sod on the €200 million N5 project at Shankill Cross near Elphin on Monday afternoon.
Works on the 34km stretch of the N5 from Ballaghaderreen to Scramogue are expected to be finished in 2024.
Limerick-based civil engineering company Roadbridge Ltd. were awarded the contract for the project and company CEO Conor Gilligan said next spring would see the “big construction” taking place.
Roscommon County Council CEO Eugene Cummins described the project as “one of the most, if not most important” developments in the country.
Local Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan said the project was “testament to Government commitments under Project Ireland 2040” and would increase connectivity between Dublin and Roscommon.
“This is such a dangerous stretch of road in terms of accidents. This investment will remove articulated trucks from town centres and make communities safer in Frenchpark, Bellanagare, Tulsk and Strokestown,” she said, adding that it would boost tourist numbers in the region.
Meanwhile, local Independent councillor Tom Crosby also welcomed the commencement of the works, describing it as “exciting news for the region” which would help to improve safety for road users while leading to further investment locally.