Planning permission has been granted for the Athy Southern Distributor Road project, but funding has not been confirmed.
An Bord Pleanala has approved Kildare County Council's application to build a road to funnel traffic out of the town centre.
Construction of a new route was first suggested in the 1970s.
The project is expected to cost in the region of €34 million.
As recently as January, €1 million was allocated to KCC to enable it to progress the project through to the planning stage.
The remainder of the monies required has yet to be allocated.