19th St. closes, re-opens, and closes again

Construction on a Palm Harbor road causes a nuisance for getting to school.

More stories from Emma Behrmann


19th St. is blocked with road closed signs, a pile of dirt, draining water, and a CAT excavator. Residents living off of this road face issues with driving to and from places.

An excavator crane, pile of dirt, and drainage block the path to several Palm Harbor homes. 19th St. has closed, re-opened, and closed again within the past two weeks.  

19th St. provides access to Palm Harbor zoned neighborhoods including Barrington Oaks, Arbor Glen, Pipers Meadow, and Sever’s Landing. With direct access to Tampa Road blocked, getting to and from school became complicated. 

“It is really inconvenient because I can’t remember it being closed, so then I get to 19th and have to turn around. It’s the easiest road to Tampa Road. It’s annoying,” Blake Budd (‘20) said.

With no end to the closure in sight, residents take back routes to reach their destinations. The closed road begins at Arbor Drive S. and extends to the light at Tampa Road. Those who live off of 19th St. can either go to County Road 39 and take Belcher Road, or drive into Pipers Meadow and through the Hammocks, which exits onto Tampa Road.

“It adds about five to ten minutes on the way to school in the morning. In the afternoon I have to go all the way out on Tampa Road and sit at that long light,” Justin Wahl (‘21) said. 

The closure also impacts Palm Harbor Middle School’s car line. Usually, the car line is accessible from 19th St. and Tampa Road. However, with 19th St. no longer an option, all of the middle school car line traffic is forced onto Tampa Road.

Besides the nuisance of adding an extra five minutes to commute time and traffic jam car lines, this construction project seems a mystery. 

On Aug. 26, 19th St. closed for the first time. On Aug. 27, Pinellas County Public Works called residents impacted by the closure, informing them of a burst pipe and depression in the road being fixed. The road was scheduled to re-open on Aug 30. 

As promised, the street opened on Aug. 30 with the depression filled in with asphalt. Normal traffic continued on the street. However, on Sept. 3, the road mysteriously closed again, this time with an excavator and a pile of dirt in front of Arbor Drive S.

“It really doesn’t make sense that they fixed it and then closed it again,” Wahl said.

Following the re-closure, there was no call from Pinellas County Public Works to residents who are impacted. In addition, the Pinellas County Public Works website lacks a project cited under “Road Projects” for 19th St. 

According to the Pinellas County Public Works, there is no contract for the current job on 19th St. Therefore, the county is not performing the construction, so the job may be private. 

There is no indication of when the road will open again. So far the excavator has been removed, but the pile of dirt remains. Residents will continue taking alternate routes to work, school, and anywhere else until it is fixed.