- Since U.S. Customs and Border Protection posted a preliminary notice last week that it would begin taking bids on the U.S.-Mexico border wall later this month, it has already received interest from almost 200 engineering and construction companies, according to CityLab.
- The list of companies that have responded to the notice thus far represents 41 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico and includes small disadvantaged businesses, as well as minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned firms. Defense contractor Raytheon and global construction firm Caddell have also expressed interest in bidding.
- The agency won't post a formal request for bids until March 6, with conceptual designs due on March 10. By March 20, federal officials expect to have whittled the list down to a group of finalists, who must submit their cost estimates and other project details by March 24.
Although interest in the project is robust — and only expected to grow — it is likely that not all of the firms that submitted bids are qualified to carry through with the entire process. However, the speed of the bidding process is in line with the government's goal of completing wall construction by 2020.
Officials announced this accelerated schedule despite not yet having a full grasp on the wall's price tag or how much funding Congress will approve to cover construction costs.
A preliminary Department of Homeland Security report, released in January, estimated that construction could end up costing as much as $22 billion and take, at the very minimum, three years. The agency's outline, which reportedly had not yet been reviewed by President Donald Trump when it was made public, specified a border wall that would utilize a mix of fencing and walls that would supplement the 654 miles of barriers already in place. The report indicated that the first phase of the project would begin near San Diego, El Paso, TX, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, with a second phase continuing in Arizona and Texas.
Trump made construction of the border wall a key issue of his campaign, and one of the first actions he took as president was to sign an executive order that directed the DHS to expedite planning and construction of the wall. Republicans have introduced a plan that would fund $12 billion to $15 billion of construction, but those numbers could change once officials determine a final cost estimate.