- A new engineering report casts doubt on the structural integrity of the the border wall that Fisher Sand and Gravel built along the Rio Grande River in Mission, Texas, as well as Fisher's ability to correct deficiencies that will likely cause the wall to fail.
- Civil and environmental engineer Mark Tompkins found that the 18-foot-high bollard fence has caused significant erosion and will fail during a "high flow event," according to new documents filed in a lawsuit brought by the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) against Fisher; the nonprofit We Build the Wall, which is crowdfunding its construction; and the owner of the property. Tompkins, whose work was funded by NABA, also found that the plan Fisher formulated to maintain the wall is inadequate.
- A second firm, Millennium Engineering Group, filed its own report, noting erosion on the river side of the wall that could pose a future risk of deflection. It also found that the riverside concrete foundation of the wall, as well as pour strips, were poured without the use of formwork and that areas of erosion under the wall were up to 4 feet deep and 3 feet wide, which could impact the wall's stability.
The plaintiffs have amended their original complaint against Fisher and the other defendants to include the new information. The lawsuit takes aim against Fisher’s capabilities as a builder as well.
"Builder Defendants claim that they can single-handedly build a border wall faster than the government and at a fraction of the price," it reads. "They fail to mention that they can build it faster and cheaper because they do not (1) get approvals for their plans, (2) comply with any laws regarding construction or (3) conduct any studies to ensure that they will not cause more harm than good."
Construction Dive reached out to Fisher for comment about the reports, but the company had not responded by press time.
Tompkins' report found Fisher’s plan to maintain the wall is “haphazard and unprofessional” and demonstrates a “complete lack of understanding of professional standards for safe and effective construction and maintenance of infrastructure in large, dynamic floodways like the Rio Grande."
The erosion and ultimate failure of the wall will cause damage to surrounding land, including that of the NABA's adjacent National Butterfly Center, it added.
Fisher has long touted its wall capabilities and offered to build 234 miles of border and levee walls through the Rio Grande Valley for $1.4 billion. For almost $3 billion more, the company said it could also build paved roads and include border security technology and a warranty.
The wall that is the focal point of NABA's lawsuit was crowd-funded and paid for by We Build the Wall. The organization's founder, Brian Kolfage, was indicted last month along with President Trump's former advisor Stephen K. Bannon and other individuals associated with the group on charges that they used hundreds of thousands of dollars they raised for border wall construction on lavish personal spending.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May awarded Fisher a $1.3 billion contract for the construction of 42 miles of border wall in Arizona. Construction Dive reached out to the Army Corps Southern Pacific Border District’s public affairs office as to whether the engineers' reports will affect that contract but has not yet received a response.