The Border Fence K Project consisted of six contracts connecting to create 38 mi of primary vehicle and pedestrian barrier fence from downtown El Paso east to the Fabens area. The total contract value was $170 million, with the majority of construction work completed in just four months.

More than 1,100 people and 600 pieces of equipment were mobilized to complete the schedule-driven project.

The team was innovative in its approach to the construction of the massive project. During the estimating process, a rolling scaffold system was designed that spanned the height of the fence and allowed access to every inch of the 19-ft-tall fence from both sides.

Kiewit contracted outside engineering companies to develop two separate types of movable scaffold systems to straddle the fence. The scaffold systems were designed specifically for the Border Fence K projects and were constructed onsite by Kiewit craft employees.

The scaffolding system—nicknamed the “Iron Pony”—stood 25 ft tall and 9 ft wide. Crews fine-tuned the scaffolding as the work progressed, creating a slightly smaller version a few weeks later that was built solely for speed of production.

At the peak of construction, more that 1,100 workers were stretched over the span of 20 mi. The job team had to get creative in determining how the work would be managed to maintain the schedule rates required to meet the owner’s completion milestones.

The fence work was linear with one process following right behind the next.

Taking into account access points to the job, materials and personnel flow, the team devised a train management system. Each train would work a 1-mi rolling segment of work. Within a train, all steps of construction were started and completed so at the end of the day the train was completing fully punched-out work for owner acceptance.

Each train managed its own personnel, materials and subcontractors. At the job’s peak, six trains moving an average of .5 mi per day completed an average of 3 mi of fence per week.

Key Players

Submitted by: Kiewit New Mexico Co.
Owner: United States Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District
General contractor: Kiewit New Mexico Co., Albuquerque
Architect: Michael Baker Corp., Phoenix
Engineer of record: HNTB, El Paso
Concrete testing consultant: Professional Service Industrial Inc., Fort Bliss
Slope paving and Pyramat contractor: Signature, Grand Prairie
Slope paving and grouting contractors: Vertex Contractors LLC, El Paso, and Meraz Painting Inc., Las Cruces, N.M.
Erosion control and seeding contractor: Windswept Organix New Mexico, Albuquerque
Steel supplier: Payne Fence Products LLC, Ennis
Rebar supplier: D’Ambra Steel Services Inc., Houston
Concrete supplier: Jobe Materials, El Paso
Trucking supplier: Henry Trujillo, El Paso
Equipment supplier: Wagner Equipment Co., El Paso