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Border Wall Contracts Use Military Project Funding

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

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Funding stemming from canceled military projects has been assigned to three new contracts for the construction of over 30 miles of replacement fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, totaling $316 million in work.

According to azcentral, the majority of the work is slated to take place near Yuma, Arizona, while the third project will be built near San Diego. These are also the first projects to be funded from the amount collected from the 128 canceled military projects.

Border Wall Saga

In September 2017, the first border wall contracts were awarded to four different companies to develop prototypes that would work in conjunction with the border in the San Diego area. U.S. special forces spent weeks attempting to breach the eight prototype models of the proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, which proved to withstand jackhammers, torches and climbing tools.

Since then, the government has worked to speed up the project. In October 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that any environmental regulations regarding the construction or repair of a section of the border wall for certain areas in Texas would be waived, drawing ire from environmentalists and private property owners alike. The announcement detailed exemptions in Cameron County; another announcement made the following day detailed similar measures for Hidalgo County.

And in December 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced the beginning of construction of a series of border wall gates in the Rio Grande Valley sector.

But in January, a report revealed that all eight border wall prototypes, inspected by President Donald J. Trump last March, were susceptible to breaching. Several million in other contracts for other border wall work had also been awarded elsewhere. In March, the border wall prototypes were demolished.

Toward the end of May, a judge blocked Trump’s use of money originally intended for military funding, for work on the border wall. The injunction only accounted for roughly $1 billion in funding for the border wall, money that the Department of Defense had funneled away from Army personnel to the Department of Homeland Security.

In July, over a week after a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from using $2.5 billion in funding for the border wall, CBP and the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $33 million contract for four miles of border wall work in Texas. Environmental regulations for that section of structure were also waived. August also saw the award of another $305 million in contracts.

In September, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved $3.6 billion in funding—largely pulled from military construction projects, including housing—to go toward building 175 miles of the border wall.

Recent Developments

The Army Corps of Engineers awarded a majority of the work to BFBC LLC, an affiliate of Barnard Construction—a single contract amounting to $260.4 million. The work covers two projects, near Yuma, amounting to 34.5 miles of border wall. Though there is no date currently set for construction to commence, it is slated for completion by the next presidential election. Work is to include replacing vehicle barriers with 30-foot-tall bollards.

The second contract is being helmed by BFBC and Barnard Construction. Both companies are already working on replacing sections of border fence near Yuma. They are also currently working to replace miles of steel landing mat fencing with bollard-style barrier in San Luis and setting up several miles of vehicle barriers with bollards along the Colorado River. At the current rate of work, the San Luis project is slated for completion by the end of the year.

As for the third, $55.8 million project, CJW Joint Venture will be responsible for replacing 1.5 miles of primary fencing and 2 miles of secondary fencing. The work will take place east of the Otay Mesa port of entry, near where the eight border wall prototypes were tested in 2017.

   

Tagged categories: Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management

Comment from Julie Zak, (12/4/2019, 11:03 AM)

Check closely the credentials of the wall contractor - Fisher, I believe... wondering why cancelling military contracts is beneficial... who benefits the most?... inquiring minds want to know!


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