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First Border Wall Contracts Awarded

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, announced Thursday (Aug. 31) that it has awarded four contracts for the construction of prototype concrete border wall segments, a step toward President Donald J. Trump’s planned wall across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border fence
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S.-Mexico border stretches nearly 2,000 miles, with about 670 miles currently divided by fencing, much of which was built after a 2006 authorization signed by President George W. Bush.

The New York Times reports that the new wall prototypes will be built along the border in the San Diego area, to supplement already-existing stretches of border fence. CBP says the wall prototypes will both serve to “deter illegal crossings in the area in which they are constructed” and “allow CBP to evaluate the potential for new wall and barrier designs that could complement the wall and barrier designs we have used along the border over the last several years.”

The Contracts

The four construction firms contracted for this prototype phase are:

  • Caddell Construction Co. (DE), LLC, Montgomery, Alabama;
  • Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries, Tempe, Arizona;
  • Texas Sterling Construction Co., Houston, Texas; and
  • W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Philadelphia, Mississippi.

The contracts are reportedly valued in the $400,000 to $500,000 range.

The request for proposals, issued in March, calls for the design and construction of a reinforced concrete wall along with tactical infrastructure, including access roads, fencing, drainage structures, vehicle gates, LED lighting, fiber optics and communication towers. The government’s nominal design, the RFP explains, is for a 30-foot wall, though designs 18 feet or taller will be considered.

The RFP calls for the wall segments to reach at least 6 feet underground as well, to discourage tunneling under the structure, which has been an issue with some stretches of border fence that already exist at the nation’s southern boundary.

It specifies that the “U.S. facing side” should be “aesthetically pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment.”

The wall should also withstand attempts to breach it—with sledgehammers, pick-axes and other tools—for up to an hour and a half (at least between the ground and 12 feet up), allowing border patrol agents to respond to any attempted break-through.

President Trump
White House

The new border wall was a signature component of President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign, and its development was initiated by an executive order the president signed in January, days after taking office.

The prototypes, according to the RFP, will be 30 feet long.

A separate RFP was issued for prototype wall segments made of materials other than concrete. Those contracts are slated to be announced next week, according to CBP. The “other materials” RFP includes have many of the same requirements in terms of height, depth and scalability, but adds a requirement for a “see-through component/capability that facilitates situational awareness.”

While a date is not set for construction to begin, officials estimate it will be sometime this fall. After the companies get the green light, they will have 30 days to complete their respective prototypes.

From Promise to Policy

The new border wall was a signature component of Trump’s 2016 campaign, and its development was initiated by an executive order the president signed in January, days after taking office.

During the campaign, Trump said the wall would stand 35 to 40 feet tall, constructed of precast concrete. After the election, he said that he would accept fencing in some areas. The U.S.-Mexico border stretches nearly 2,000 miles, with about 670 miles currently divided by fencing, much of which was built after a 2006 authorization signed by former President George W. Bush.

Current fencing includes stretches of post-and-rail, chain-link, sheet metal and other fencing materials.

Editor's note: This story was one of our most popular of 2017, and appeared in our Readers' Choice issue on Dec. 28. Since its original publication, four border wall contracts were awarded, prototype wall segments were completed and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) called for the government to protect employees working on the border wall, as local government threatened to take action against doing business with these companies.


Tagged categories: concrete; Contract awards; Contractors; Government contracts; NA; North America; President Trump; Program/Project Management

Comment from Catherine Brooks of Eco-Strip, (9/5/2017, 11:21 AM)

Rough calculation: Prototype = 30 feet for $400,000 1,330 miles left to build = 7,022,400 feet / 30 feet = 234,080 x $400,000 = a mere $93,632,000. Conservatively. Hmm. What is the threat Hispanics make? Taking away jobs which most "Americans" think are beneath them?

Comment from Gary Burke, (9/6/2017, 10:34 AM)

More things we can't afford to do! Make it easier to make them legal and we can all save a lot of money! How many terrorists are coming in from Mexico?

Comment from Paul Hayles, (9/7/2017, 9:08 AM)

Look at all the money that being wasted, this will have great value, it will create jobs, and I know a lot of American who will do the work that you say is beneath them. but they can not get the jobs because of Illegals, need to come in the right way, I'm willing to donate..

Comment from woody woodson, (9/8/2017, 9:50 AM)

That would be $93 billion!

Comment from M. Halliwell, (9/8/2017, 11:19 AM)

30' high, at least 6' underground to dissuade tunneling...trying to keep out illegals and drugs. It's going to be a big expense for a wall that I don't think will do much (I'm having visions of the wall from Pacific Rim here).

Comment from Paul Hayles, (3/6/2019, 9:04 AM)

Add a fee to all the money they send back to their country, that will pay for the wall. No tax payer dollars, they will be paying for it

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