"Pass me the blue one." said Quinn.
"Are you sure?" asked Elise. "It's just, you were sure about the last two combinations, and that ceiling got closer both times."
"It's a gamble, I agree," replied Quinn, "but whatever's behind this door has got to be worth it."
Elise passed Quinn the blue stone which he placed carefully in the final slot. As the grinding began, Quinn looked to the door while Elise looked up...
"What do you mean the vault is empty?!"
"Just that, sir. It's empty."
"There was a half tonne of gold coins in there! Did you see a cart? Any orcs or ogres? A dragon?! It's not like it just got up and walked away!"
The adventurers hear a noise and turn, only to see a bottle clatter down the street. Shrugging it off, they continue on their way, blissfully unaware of the hulking mass of junk taking shape behind them...
As the PCs travel the road, right after a bend they hear a sharp whistle and call: "Heeey, not so lazy, move your asses!" It is a large man that calls, and there are unwilling workers that listen. A small company, 10-15 men work on the road, push boulders aside, dig up roots from under the road, etc. The large man that shouted turns to you, smiles fast and mutters something under his breath, sounds like cursing some lazy worker. "Where does the road bring you from, travellers?" And does a little small-talk.
And what is really happening? A group of bandits is 'adapting' the road for shady purposes. The road will not be wider, but tighter, with enough cover around (and a few traps perhaps), and will become an ideal spot for ambushing travellers or entire caravans. The bandit leader wants them all to appear harmless. The 'lazy worker' he cursed was actually a guard that should give warning before any travellers come around (fallen asleep). Not surprisingly, the boss may decide for an ambush even now.