U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials awarded an $80 million contract last week for the construction of 11 miles of new border wall. The project, scheduled to start in September 2019, will build new barriers and security roads in the Rio Grande Valley Sector where none exists today.
CBP officials, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), awarded a contract to Southwest Valley Constructors Co. to build 11 miles of new border wall, security access roads, and surveillance technology. Officials estimated the August 7 contract’s base value to be $80,869,000. With options, the contract’s value could climb to $304,600,000.
The wall will be built along the levee system similar to existing structures built in 2008 elsewhere in the RGV Sector, officials reported. The contract calls for 18-foot bollard fencing on top of a concrete wall. The contract also includes funds for all-weather roads to give Border Patrol agents quick access to the border area, lighting, enforcement cameras, and other related technology equipment to create a “complete enforcement zone.”
Funds for the contract come from the CBP’s FY19 appropriations. Officials noted the funds are not part of President Donald Trump’s National Emergency Declaration and also do not come from any diverted funds appropriated to the Department of Defense or the Department of the Treasury.
The wall is not being built, per requirements in the appropriations act, in the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, La Lomita Historical Park, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, within or east of the Vista del Par Ranch tract of the Lower Rio Grace Valley National Wildlife Refuge, or the National Butterfly Center.
This award follows previously announced construction projects to build 25 gates and associated equipment along existing border barriers. “Once installed, the gates will serve as a persistent impediment to smuggling organizations while still allowing access for property owners, USBP, other local/state/federal officials, and local emergency responders,” CBP officials said in a written statement.
Construction on these projects is scheduled to begin by September 30.
“RGV is the busiest Sector in the nation and accounts for approximately 40% of the illegal alien apprehensions and, for the FY to date, ranks first in seized cocaine and marijuana along the southwest border,” officials continued. “The majority of its activity is occurring in areas where RGV has limited infrastructure, access and mobility, and technology. These projects will improve the RGV Sector’s ability to impede and deny illegal border crossings and the drug and human smuggling activities of transnational criminal organizations.”