By Rafael Carranza for The Arizona Republic
Workers toiled in intense 95-degree heat in San Diego Tuesday, putting final touches on eight possible versions of President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall.
As an Oct. 26 deadline to finish the prototype border-wall designs drew near, The Arizona Republic toured the construction site a few dozen yards from the border that divides this city from neighboring Tijuana, Mexico.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection awarded eight contracts to six companies, including two from Arizona, to build the prototypes. Four are made of reinforced concrete, and another four incorporate additional construction materials. Construction began on Sept. 26, giving companies 30 days to finish.
The construction site is about 2 miles east of San Diego’s Otay Mesa border crossing, in the foothills of the Otay Mountains.
At 30 feet, the designs dwarf the primary fence that currently marks the international boundary. They are nearly twice the height of the secondary metal-mesh fence, which ends near where the prototypes are being built.
Their height, officials said, is intended to make a statement to criminals and would-be unauthorized crossers: Stay away.
What They Look Like … So Far
All of the finished prototypes, as well as the one that’s nearly completed, employ concrete as the main construction material. But the designs of some vary greatly.
Notably, only one of the completed designs incorporates see-through features that would allow Border Patrol agents to monitor activity on the other side of the border.
Initially, Trump called for a solid reinforced concrete design, and several of the finished prototypes seemed to fit that description. Under advisement from CBP, the administration later included “see-through features” in its call for submissions.
Of the six companies CBP chose to build the prototypes, two are from Arizona.
Border Patrol Agent Theron Francisco said Tempe-based Fisher Sand & Gravel was among the first to complete construction of its prototype, building it “in a matter of days.”
The concrete design is made up of three long, concrete frames that gently slope upward from the U.S. side, but are completely vertical on the south side.
Next to it, workers with the other Arizona company, KWR Construction of Sierra Vista, were digging the foundation for their design, which incorporates materials other than concrete.
On Tuesday, it was unclear what materials would be used or what the final design would look like.
The cost of the eight contracts ranges from $320K-$480K. CBP has already appropriated the funds to pay for them.
However, funding for additional construction is still up in the air.
CBP said it will look at how effective the designs are in preventing people from climbing over, opening a hole in them or tunneling beneath them.
Read more at The Arizona Republic.
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