Testing of eight border wall prototypes on Otay Mesa is expected to begin shortly, launching a 30- to 60-day process followed by an extra month or two to evaluate what Customs and Border Patrol engineers learn.
The 30-foot prototypes at the border will be evaluated on how people might climb them or tunnel underneath. Other “breaching” methods will be done on mockups at undisclosed locations.
Companies that built the prototypes (four of them concrete, the rest undiclosed materials) are:
W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co. of Philadelphia, Mississippi
KWR Construction Inc. of Sierra Vista, Arizona.
And ELTA North America Inc. of Annapolis Junction, Maryland
“There will be different versions that will come out from these prototypes,” CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello told a press conference last month.
A composite of best features will likely result, rather than a choice of best wall built by the six contractors.
“There are different requirements for different locations,” he said.
Asked what will happen to the prototypes, Vitiello said: “We’re going to see what happens on the evaluation and then we’ll make a plan to use them to their best ability. We’re not sure whether they stay here, whether they are part of the infrastructure system. But that will be determined through the testing and evaluation.”
But Vitiello assured reporters that a border wall “works” when combined with technology such as sensors and cameras and proper agent response with needed roads.
“I’m happy to have a discussion about that with anybody,” he said.
Down the line — if Congress appropriates money — other vendors will compete for future projects.