The Department of Homeland Security has finally reached a decision in the long-delayed process of selecting contractors who will build prototypes of President Donald Trump’s promised border wall. The department announced Thursday that it has selected four contractors to build wall prototypes, and that construction is slated to begin this winter, according to CNN.
The announcement comes after the Government Accountability Office on Friday dismissed a complaint filed by contractors who claimed their bids had been passed over, allowing DHS to move forward after the complaints had threatened to delay the selection until November.
Customs and Border Protection's acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello announced that the designs will be constructed along the San Diego border. Four companies will be doing the building: Caddell Construction Co (DE), LLC, of Montgomery, Alabama; Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries, of Tempe, Arizona; Texas Sterling Construction Co., of Houston, Texas; W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, of Philadelphia, Mississippi.
The government made two requests when it asked for bids: Designs for a 30-foot concrete wall, and anything else. The latter design plan will be revealed next week, CBP said.
According to CNN, construction on the wall prototypes was delayed after the shunned contractors filed protests about the decision back in July. The original plan had been to start construction in June.
However, further delays could ensue if bidders who weren’t selected choose to file complaints, the CBP said.
‘CBP did note that once contracts are awarded, companies will have another opportunity to protest, which could add further delays. Nevertheless, CBP said ‘we are confident in our processes, and we will proceed deliberately, to ensure compliance with the law.’”
The new designs that were selected will be added to the CBP’s “menu” of options for the wall.
“The prototypes will ‘help us create a 'design standard' for operational walls,’ CBP said. ‘The new designs would be added to our menu of existing designs, and allow us to tailor a specific wall design to the unique demands of individual areas of the border.’”
The money for the process came from $20 million that Congress authorized the Department of Homeland Security to pull from other places in the budget earlier this year after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January directing the federal government to begin construction on the border wall as soon as possible.
Of course, Congress has yet to appropriate any money for construction. Trump, for his part, has vowed to veto any spending bills that reach his desk in September unless they include funding for the wall – a promise that’s been complicated by Hurricane Harvey.
Read the full release below:
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WASHINGTON - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today that contracts have been awarded for concrete prototypes of the Border Wall.
The companies selected to construct concrete border wall prototypes are:
Caddell Construction Co., (DE), LLC, Montgomery, Alabama,
Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries, Tempe, Arizona,
Texas Sterling Construction Co., Houston, Texas, and
W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Philadelphia, Mississippi.
These concrete prototypes will serve two important ends. First, given their robust physical characteristics, like, reinforced concrete, between 18-30 feet high, the concrete border wall prototypes are designed to deter illegal crossings in the area in which they are constructed.
Second, the concrete border wall prototypes will allow CBP to evaluate the potential for new wall and barrier designs that could complement the wall and barrier designs we have used along the border over the last several years. As the border security environment continues to evolve, CBP will continually refresh its own inventory of tools to meet that evolution.
CBP will make a decision on the “other materials” Request for Proposal (RFP) in the next week. CBP officials will meet with the vendors and determine construction timeline, however we expect to construct the prototypes in the fall.
Issued Jan. 25, Presidential Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, states that “the [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary shall take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.”
On March 17, CBP issued two Requests for Proposals to acquire conceptual wall designs with the intent to construct multiple prototypes. One RFP called for concrete wall design and the other RFP called for Other than Concrete wall design. Today, CBP announces the award of the concrete prototype contracts. Prototyping is an industry-tested approach to identify additional solutions when considering a new product or methodology. Through the construction of prototypes, CBP will partner with industry to identify the best means and methods to construct a border wall.
The prototypes will inform future design standards which will likely continue to evolve to meet the U.S. Border Patrol’s requirements. Through the prototyping process, CBP may identify new designs or influences for new designs that will expand the current border barrier toolkit that CBP could use to construct a border wall system. The border barrier toolkit is based on USBP’s requirements.
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While no images of the selected designs have been released, we noted a number of them in April...
“As Pretty as the Parthenon”
WHO Crisis Resolution Security Services of Clarence, Ill., a global security management firm
DESIGN CRSS says the wall is meant to evoke famous walls in history, using crenellations, parapets and buttresses, and would be “as pretty as the Parthenon.” The wall would be built on a 30-foot-high dirt berm, graded to prevent vehicles from approaching. It also would follow existing interior roads and highways, which the company says would make it easier to transport materials and to maintain, while avoiding private-property issues. It would also create a wide zone in some places between the wall and the border. Bridges and gates would allow the inhabitants of that zone to cross.
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Doubling as Nuclear Waste Facility
WHO Clayton Industries of Pittsburgh
DESIGN Owner Christian Clayton has proposed devising a wall that would carry electricity generated from municipal, medical and nuclear waste. “The wall is just a building block,” Mr. Clayton said. “Think of the wall as big conduit." Mr. Clayton declined to detail many specifics of his plan, which would involve plants to convert the waste into power. Spent nuclear fuel rods and other waste would be buried 100 feet deep in a buffer zone between the border and the wall.
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At an Angle
WHO Chanlin Inc., of Middle River, Minn., a steel-fabrication construction company
DESIGN Chanlin’s design for a concrete wall consists of using 10-foot-wide by 30-foot-high panels with embedded steel plates welded in a vertical position. To prevent climbing or scaling with a hook, the design would be tilted 30 degrees toward Mexico and include a smooth concrete finish with a steel cap plate. Steel bars would allow border patrol to be able to see through the fence.
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Design Beyond Reach
WHO J.M. Design Studio of Pittsburgh, an all-women team of designers and artists
DESIGN In a submission meant to protest the project, J.M. Design Studio's proposals are designed to “invite other realms of thought and consideration." One sketch shows nearly three million hammocks, for anyone’s use, strung across the border with 30-foot trees for support. Another one has a semicontinuous wall of nearly 10 million 30-foot-tall pipe organs, with openings every 20 feet allowing for people to pass through. Jennifer Meridian, a Pittsburgh artist involved in the submissions, called the actual border wall project "preposterous for so many reasons."
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WHO Reilly Construction and Croell Inc., both of Iowa
DESIGN This joint venture would use tilt-slab construction consisting of concrete with reinforced fibers that the company says would make the wall more durable and resistant to damage. The panels would be 30 feet high and 15 feet wide with a footing underground to prevent tunneling. The concrete material could be engraved, colored or etched to make it more aesthetically appealing or should there be an interest in establishing a memorial in some places.
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WHO Hadrian Construction Co. of Carlsbad, Calif.
DESIGN Company owner Rod Hadrian says his prefabricated product would make the wall cheaper and easier to install in remote border areas. The tridipanel wall system could be made to any thickness or color, and the diagonal pattern is meant to give the wall extra strength.
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WHO Penna Group of Fort Worth, Texas
DESIGN Penna Group’s proposal is for a double wire mesh fence that has a sheet of plexiglass lined with a one-way mirror allowing border patrol agents to see the Mexico side, but not the reverse. The fence would be 30 feet tall with a 6-foot footing, and both would be designed to sustain tampering by pickaxes, hammers, hand-tools, and torches for over an hour and a half. The double-lined, double-wire mesh design is often used in maximum-security prisons.
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WHO San Diego Project Management, PSC, a full-service design-build organization
DESIGN This firm submitted a design for a wall similar to the ones used to protect medieval castles in Europe, according to the company. Most notably, the proposal includes a walkway on top called a “chemin de ronde” that allows for border agents to see Mexico through optical ports.
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WHO Single Eagle Inc. of Poway, Calif., a structural and decorative concrete specialist
DESIGN This proposal has a design option that could incorporate artistic representations of local cultures. The walls are built using a tilt-up method that is cast onsite and then put into position, making it easier to built the wall in remote areas.
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WHO DarkPulse Technologies, based in Arizona and New York
DESIGN Ballistic concrete is used, which the company says could withstand more than 12 hours of tampering. Using sensors, the wall and below-ground structure would notify border agents of the exact location of any tampering in real time. The wall would also include coating designed to prevent climbing and the use of grappling hooks.
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WHO vScenario, a San Diego construction-technology company
DESIGN vScenario’s design would begin by using drones to develop a 3-D spatial model of the terrain. The proposed wall would feature cameras, volumetric microwave sensors and fiberoptics designed to detect intrusions.
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WHO WTC Construction
DESIGN This design aims to mimic a “rammed-Earth” construction style, which uses natural raw materials. The goal is a wall designed to look like an “extension of the surrounding landscape,” says the company. The system would include panels attached to reinforced concrete piers nested together to form a solid structure.
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WHO Riverdale Mills of Northbridge, Mass.
DESIGN A galvanized welded wire mesh called WireWall, which the company says is virtually impossible to climb or cut. The company’s fencing is in use along the U.S.-Mexico border in California, as seen above. The fencing could be up to 20 feet tall and could be installed to reach 6 feet below ground.
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A Twist on Steel
WHO Helix Steel, a unit of Pensmore Reinforcement Technologies, of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Leesburg, Va.
DESIGN Helix would mix concrete with its Twisted Steel Micro Rebar, a reinforcement designed to prevent cracking. The material is now used at some residential and commercial sites.