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Report: Border Wall Prototypes Pass Testing

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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According to new reports, U.S. special forces spent weeks attempting to breach the eight prototype models of the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, and the test walls held up to tests with jackhammers, torches and climbing tools.

The Associated Press reported Friday (Jan. 19) that a Department of Homeland Security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that commandos were brought in starting in November to test the wall segments. The troops assigned to the task included military special forces and DHS tactical units, the AP said.

Border wall segment
Images: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A total of six contractors built eight wall prototype segments: four concrete, four made of other materials.

The testing is near its conclusion, according to the Washington Examiner; all of the prototypes have performed well resisting a breach thus far, and DHS is reportedly likely to use a mix of elements from the different models to build the wall.

Wall Funding

Funding for the wall is still up in the air as of Monday (Jan. 22). Congressional Democrats, who have opposed funding the construction, reportedly offered to authorize $20 billion for the wall in exchange for the preservation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young people brought to the country undocumented as minors to stay in the U.S. President Donald J. Trump, whose campaign hinged on the promise of the border wall, rejected that deal.

Border wall prototypes

Six contractors built a total of eight wall prototype segments.

While Trump’s original vision was of a concrete wall across the entirety of the border between the two countries, DHS looked at two sets of prototypes: four concrete walls and four walls made of other materials. A total of six contractors were hired to build the eight segments.

Steel Base

Since the call for prototype wall segments, Trump and DHS officials have stressed the importance, at least at some areas of the border, of allowing Customs and Border Protection agents to see through the wall at ground level. The bulk of the wall, then, may involve steel at the base, which would allow open areas for visibility and would permit easier repairs than a concrete wall. Concrete may be added atop the steel for further protection.

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.


Tagged categories: concrete; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Steel

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