U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced August 31 that contracts have been awarded for concrete prototypes of the proposed border wall along the U.S. Southern Border near San Diego, CA.

The companies selected to construct the prototypes are Caddell Construction Co., (DE), LLC, Montgomery, AL; Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries, Tempe, AZ; Texas Sterling Construction Co., Houston, TX; and W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Philadelphia, MS.

Costs for the contracts range between  $400,000 to $500,000 for each prototype.

Main features of the prototype walls will include reinforced concrete, between 18 - 30 ft-high, and the ability to complement existing wall and barrier designs presently being used, as well as facilitate the use of technology such as sensors, lighting, all-weather roadways, towers and cameras.

"We are not just asking for a physical structure; we asking for all the tools to help us secure the border," said CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello at an August 31 news conference.

Vitiello said that through the construction of prototypes, CBP is partnering with the industry "to identity the best way to build new and replacement infrastructure along our border before we make further investments."  He said the agency is expecting to oversee the construction of between four and eight prototypes.

CBP says that as far as design, they are looking at aesthetics, how penetrable and tamper-proof the structure is, and how well it deters climbing. If the prototypes meet all requirements, they can be made permanent and stay in place once they are complete.  

On March 17, CBP issued two RFPs to acquire conceptual wall designs with the intent to construct multiple prototypes. One RFP called for concrete wall design and the other RFP called for "other than concrete wall design."

CBP says the prototypes will inform future design standards which will likely continue to evolve to meet the U.S. Border Patrol’s requirements. "Through the prototyping process, CBP may identify new designs or influences for new designs that will expand the current border barrier toolkit that CBP could use to construct a border wall system. The border barrier toolkit is based on USBP’s requirements," says the release.

As the border security environment continues to evolve, CBP says it will continually refresh its own inventory of tools to meet that evolution. The agency said an RFP for  the "other than concrete wall design" will come in the next week, while officials will meet with the vendors and determine a construction timeline. They expect to construct the prototypes in the fall.

The prototypes and proposed construction of the wall are in response to Presidential Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, which was issued on January 25 and states that “the [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary shall take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of the nation's borders.