17 January 2019 23:26
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Pride and a feeling of responsibility accompany Guillermo Rodríguez during his everyday tasks. He can work on Barcelona’s great landmark: “I am a huge fan of Gaudi and am proud to be allowed to deliver material for this magnificent work.”
Today, at 7.30 a.m. on the dot, Guillermo steers his brand new Arocs 3363 onto the grounds of the “Basilica Foundation” of the Sagrada Familia in Gaià. There is already a buzz of activity here. In the middle of it all four giant, elegant stone slabs await him. They are to be fitted into the tower of the Virgin Mary like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle to make it one level higher. The cold morning air doesn’t seem to bother the workers as they secure the freight. Each slab weighs seven tonnes, so that the tractor/trailer combination weights a total of 60 tonnes. The vehicle has been lowered so that it can pass through tunnels and under bridges without problem. “Because of the sensitive freight and the dimensions of the truck – 23 metres long, 3.5 metres wide and 4.5 metres high – this transport job is something special in two respects,” Guillermo assures us.
The 47-year old has been working as a driver for Transgranollers, a company specialising in special transport jobs, for 17 years. “We have been involved in the “Sagrada Familia” project for ten years”. Guillermo can remember the first transport very well. “I was so nervous!” he says.
The valuable parts are loaded with absolute care and precision. The whole process can take up to one and half hours. Guillermo helps too. However, it’s the driving that he really finds fun. At the wheel of the Arocs 3363 he glances in the rearview mirror and marvels at his goods: “Off we go!” he calls to his colleague David Llisterri via the radio. David is driving the accompanying vehicle which will escort him into the centre of Barcelona.
The drivers are perfectly attuned to one another. Before each difficult junction, David gets out and gives Guillermo the necessary instructions for a safe continuation of the journey. “Everything is OK!” Guillermo confirms from the cab. The two drivers also need to be extra careful at roundabouts. David positions the escort vehicle to the left of the truck to stop the traffic so that Guillermo can merge into the roundabout safely. “We must ensure the safety of the goods and the traffic at the same time.” Guillermo explains.
Once they have merged onto the A2, the escort vehicle drops behind the Arocs. Although Guillermo and David know the route perfectly, both drivers travel the 90 kilometres to the centre of the Catalonian capital with extreme care. They make a short stop close to the city limits: from there the city police escort Guillermo.
“On the road there are always a couple of drivers that glance at us curiously. At the Sagrada Familia numerous tourists and curious bystanders always take photos or film us,” Guillermo explains. The driver has got used to it now. He turns the truck with millimetre precision as he has to reverse into the yard below the tower of the Virgin Mary.
Before returning, Guillermo takes a walk around the basilica to marvel at each of the monumental façades: the Nativity façade, the Passion façade, the Glory façade. “I can’t look at them enough. Only a genius could create something like that!” he says. Construction of the building began in 1883 and should be finished in 2026. Guillermo will definitely be there for that.
Photos and video: Begoña Tremps