Work starts on 14-mile, $101M portion of border wall in California
- Construction on the fifth U.S.-Mexico border wall project under President Donald Trump’s administration is underway in San Diego, the Associated Press reported.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in coordination with the Army Corps of Engineers, awarded Galveston, Texas-based contractor SLS Co., or SLSCO, a contract that totals $287 million in December. Work is divided into a primary wall and a secondary wall. Construction of the secondary wall started this week, and will see SLSCO replace 14 miles of steel mesh fencing with a 30-foot-tall steel bollard system as part of a $101 million contract. The secondary wall project also includes $30 million of unawarded options.
- Construction of the primary wall portion, which will run through the California cities of Calexico, Tecate and Andrade, is scheduled to begin in July and will include replacing a 15-mile pedestrian wall with another 30-foot-tall steel bollard system ($68 million). That phase has $88 million of unawarded options.
CBP also awarded SLSCO other wall projects last year. In November alone, the company won contracts worth $312 million.
SLSCO won a $167 million contract for construction and installation of levee wall segments in Hidalgo County, Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, to match the height of the existing levee. The project includes placing 18-foot-tall steel bollards on top of the new concrete wall and miscellaneous work such as removing vegetation within a 150-foot enforcement zone. SLSCO will also incorporate features such as detection technology, lighting, video surveillance and a patrol road.
SLSCO’s second November contract award for $145 million is for a similar scope of work in another area of the Rio Grande Valley.
While these and other wall projects involve supplementing and replacing existing border barriers, the Trump administration could soon start construction on other wall sections, as long as legal opinion swings its way.
In order to avoid a second partial federal government shutdown, Trump signed a fiscal 2019 spending bill that provided $1.4 billion for border wall construction. However, the president declared a national emergency, and, if it survives court challenges by Democrats, he can tap into $8 billion in other government funds for wall construction. Trump would end up with $2 billion more than the $5.7 billion he originally requested, which Congress denied.
- Associated Press Work begins to replace steel-mesh layer of border wall in San Diego
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