Border Wall Prototypes to be Demolished
Late last month, demolition of the border wall prototypes, which originally went up 16 months ago, located at the border between Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, commenced. The prototypes are no longer needed, as elements of the designs have since been incorporated into current border fence plans.
In April 2017, Customs and Border Protection awarded more than $3 million in contracts to six companies for eight prototypes. CBP finished testing and evaluation the following month.
Border Wall Prototype History
In late August 2017, CBP awarded four border wall prototype construction contracts for the construction of prototype concrete border wall segment. Each contract was reportedly valued in the $400,000 to $500,000 range, going to:
In late September, four more prototype contracts using alternative materials were also announced. Those included:
The concrete request for proposals, issued in March 2017, called 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 was for a 30-foot wall, though designs 18 feet or taller were also considered.
The RFP called for the wall segments to reach at least six 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.
The “other materials” RFP included many of the same requirements in terms of height, depth and scalability, but added a requirement for a “see-through component/capability that facilitates situational awareness."
In January, a report indicated that all eight border wall prototypes, inspected by President Donald J. Trump in March 2018, were susceptible to breaching. Trump chose a steel bollard fence design for additions to the border wall.
Border Wall Prototypes Destroyed
According to US News, the concrete panel border wall prototype options were largely tossed aside by border agents due to being unable to see what was happening on the other side. What funding Congress has provided so far—nearly $3 billion—was to be spent on designs that were in place before May 2017.
On Feb. 27, workers used large construction equipment to knock down the prototypes, which Congress has largely prohibited CBP from using in most new projects. It remains unclear if these restrictions would also apply to whatever border wall work is funded by the emergency declaration. Construction methods previously used by the agency, including anti-climb features, were validated by the testing process, according to CNN.
The prototypes are located near the San Diego replacement barrier work, and though CBP had the choice to leave the structures standing, the agency chose the steel-bollard wall, naming it the most effective design in that spot.
None of the companies that built the prototypes are working on any of the new border wall contracts, a CBP official told CNN.
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.