Lower speed limits along certain sections of Higby Road between Frankfort and Utica can't come soon enough.

After a study of the 7.1-mile stretch between the Oneida-Herkimer County line to the Route 5S/Higby Road/Cemetery Street interchange, the state Department of Transportation recently notified Herkimer County Highway Superintendent Mark Nagele that the DOT will recommend speed limit reductions.

Herkimer County Legislator John Brezinski has long lobbied for the lower limit.

The DOT study, requested by the Town of Frankfort, divided the stretch into four segments and collected speed data, accident history, traffic volumes and roadway information from each section. DOT Regional Traffic Engineer Linda Lubey said the study concluded that this portion of Higby Road “is not typical of a 55 mph highway and efforts to alert motorists to that fact is a critical component to increasing safety on this roadway.”

As a result, the DOT is recommending speed limits be lowered from 55 to 45 in two sections, from 55 to 50 in another and the 30 mph speed limit at Cemetery Street be extended to the west side of the Route 5S/Higby Road/Cemetery Street interchange.

News of the changes came in a letter to Herkimer County Highway Superintendent Mark Nagele. He said the county will install the signs as directed, but did not know how soon the county could expect to receive the order from DOT.

Brezinski has been a staunch advocate for lowering the speed, along with improved lighting. In addition to lowering the speed, he maintains that the road can be made safer by adding two street lights — one at its intersection with Albany Street and the other at its intersection with Graffenberg Road. That decision on lighting, he said, could come next.

Since 2012, there have been 78 accidents along this stretch of Higby Road, Brezinski said, including several fatalities.

- On Feb. 18, Stephen J. Browne, 59, of Chadwicks was killed when his vehicle crossed into the path of an oncoming car driven by Jordan Smith, 26, of Ilion. Smith was treated and released from St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica.

- On Dec. 13, 2016, Christine M. Brooks, 42, of Mohawk, died following a two-car head-on crash. Four others were injured.

- On June 21, 2014, Sara Testa of Frankfort was killed after her car struck a guardrail and flipped onto its roof, ejecting her. She was a 19-year-old student at Herkimer County Community College.

- On May 8, 1986, New York State Police Sgt. Arthur Anthony Scarafile, 51, died when a dump truck loaded with 18 tons of gravel lost its steering and braking power and hit his patrol car head-on.

Next will be enforcement. It's one thing to post speed limits or other motorist mandates, but it's another thing to enforce them. As the lower limits go into effect, police will need to make sure that motorists are obeying the law.

Finally, the lighting issue must be pursued. Lower speed and better lighting would enhance safety - and that could save lives. Isn't that what everyone wants?