Con­tract pa­pers de­tail vi­sion for bor­der wall

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Ali­cia A. Cald­well

wash­ing­ton» The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion wants to build a 30-foot-high bor­der wall that looks good from the north side and is dif­fi­cult to climb or cut through, ac­cord­ing to a pair of con­tract no­tices posted to a gov­ern­ment web­site fur­ther de­tail­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s prom­ise to build a “big, beau­ti­ful wall” at the Mex­i­can bor­der.

The no­tices were made pub­lic late Fri­day by Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, the Home­land Se­cu­rity De­part­ment agency that will over­see the pro­ject and even­tu­ally pa­trol and main­tain the wall. The pro­pos­als are due to the gov­ern­ment by March 29.

One of the CBP con­tract re­quests calls for a solid con­crete wall, while the other asks for pro­pos­als for a see-through struc­ture. Both re­quire the wall to sunk at least six feet into the ground and in­clude 25- and 50-foot au­to­mated gates for pedes­tri­ans and ve­hi­cles. The pro­posed wall must also be built in a such a way that it would take at least an hour to cut through it with a “sledge­ham­mer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, bat­tery op­er­ated im­pact tools, bat­tery op­er­ated cut­ting tools, Oxy/acety­lene torch or other sim­i­lar hand-held tools.”

The gov­ern­ment will award a con­tract based on 30-foot-wide sam­ple walls that are to be built in San Diego.

This is the lat­est step in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion plan to build a bor­der wall. Last month CBP put out a call for “con­cept pa­pers” to de­sign and build pro­to­types by March 10.

Trump has bragged in re­cent days that the wall is ahead of sched­ule, though it’s un­clear from the lat­est con­tract no­tices if any firms have sub­mit­ted wall pro­pos­als or if any such sub­mis­sions have been re­jected.

The gov­ern­ment has not said where the wall will be built, though the con­tract no­tices sug­gest some pieces of a new wall could re­place ex­ist­ing fenc­ing that stretches over about 700 miles of the roughly 2,000-mile bor­der. The cur­rent fenc­ing of mixed con­struc­tion, in­clud­ing 15-foot steel posts set inches apart that are de­signed to keep peo­ple from cross­ing and shorter posts that are in­tended to block cars. Bor­der Pa­trol agents are con­stantly re­pair­ing holes in the struc­ture.

Trump has long promised that Mex­ico would pay for the wall, which he has said is nec­es­sary to stop the flow of im­mi­grants cross­ing the bor­der il­le­gally and drug smug­glers.

This week the pres­i­dent sent a bud­get pro­posal to Congress that in­cluded a $2.6 bil­lion down pay­ment for the wall. The to­tal cost for the pro­ject is un­clear, but the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice es­ti­mates it would cost about $6.5 mil­lion a mile for fence to keep pedes­tri­ans from cross­ing the bor­der and about $1.8 mil­lion a mile for a ve­hi­cle bar­rier.

Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans have said Trump’s wall would cost between $12 bil­lion and $15 bil­lion and Trump has sug­gested $12 bil­lion.

An in­ter­nal re­port pre­pared for Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John Kelly es­ti­mated the cost of build­ing a wall along the en­tire U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der at about $21 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial who is in­volved in bor­der is­sues. The of­fi­cial spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

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