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Portion of US-Mexico Border Wall Falls

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

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Last week, United States border patrol officers reported that a section of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Calexico, California, had fallen over into the Mexico side after experiencing high winds.

According to the U.S. National Weather Service, at the time of the partial collapse, wind gusts were reported to be over 30 mph.

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.

Through the course of late 2018 and into 2019, construction began on section of border wall gates in the Rio Grande Valley sector, with several million in border wall contracts being awarded for work elsewhere.

In January 2019, a report revealed that all eight border wall prototypes, inspected by President Donald J. Trump in March 2018, were susceptible to breaching. Photos of the damage were not included in the redacted version of the February 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection report.

Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Katie Waldman noted that the steel bollard design was based on “the operational requirements of the United States Border Patrol,” adding that the design had been refined over a decade of use. Though the steel bollard fence currently under construction was guided by what was learned from the prototypes, it does not replicate the other designs.

In mid-2019, a judge blocked the president’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.

However, 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 wall. Shortly after, the Pentagon released a list of the projects that have been financially deferred.

And in January, Trump announced another plan to divert $7.2 billion—roughly five times what Congress authorized to spend in the 2020 budget—from Pentagon funding for border wall construction. According to the plans, the diverted funds would allow the government to complete an additional 885 miles of new fencing by spring 2022, approximately 376 more miles than the administration had slated for the U.S. border with Mexico.

What’s Happening Now?

During heavy wind gusts last week, a section of border wall fell over into the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Mexicali, landing on a row of trees.

The section of affected wall was roughly 130 feet long, 30 feet high, and is part of a wider construction effort to build more that 1,954 miles of barrier between the U.S. and Mexico.

“Luckily, Mexican authorities responded quickly and were able to divert traffic from the nearby street,” said border patrol agent Carlos Pitones. No property damage or injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

According to reports and photographs, blame for the wall’s partial collapse is being pointed to the concrete, as the construction material hadn’t cured prior to experiencing the high winds. Although crews staked anchors and attempted to stabilize the structure while it was swaying, winds eventually pushed the panel over.

Currently, construction workers are using cranes in an attempt to fix the developing infrastructure.


Tagged categories: Accidents; concrete; Construction; Government; Health and safety; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; President Trump; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; Safety

Comment from matthew duncan, (2/5/2020, 2:38 PM)

I am a little surprised you didn't embed the picture into this article...

Comment from Martin Rose, (2/5/2020, 9:14 PM)

"Heavy Wind Gusts" of 30 mph. Ha ha hahahahahaha. 30!

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