Highway or a Higher Way
The locals loved to walk along the path above the shore and rest on the row of benches, leaning back against the memorial plaques of those who had enjoyed the same sea view and breathed the same fresh air many years before. For early morning walkers, evening strollers and everyone in between the seats were in regular use all day long.
That was until the planners at the Department of Transport chose that area to build a new motorway.
Straight away, logistics companies decided they could now transport their foodstuffs over longer distances. Soon, the view in one direction from the benches was of queues of lorries, off to an early start and belching out diesel fumes. The parents of the school pupils decided it was no longer safe to walk or cycle with the children, and took to using the new road to drop off and pick up in their gas guzzling people-carriers and 4 x 4s. By evening, youths congregated to socialise in the parking areas, leaving the engines of their old bangers running and the exhausts belching out black fumes. With music blaring, they then took turns to use the road as a race track to see what speeds they could achieve.
All the commuters decided that having to follow timetabled schedules on buses and trains was more inconvenient than each taking their own car down the new fast road. Once that became the norm, though, the motorway got congested in the rush hours. The planning committee called an emergency meeting and decided there was no other choice than to build two extra lanes in each direction.
In time, it was noticeable that the occupants of the nearby houses rarely opened their windows, and indeed hardly ever emerged. Eventually, they got bored, and drove off to the airport for a long haul holiday flight. Rumours started to circulate that the local hospitals were seeing more new cases of asthmatic conditions than usual, and so sale boards started to proliferate outside houses.
Now, each evening, the row of benches sits empty in the setting sun.