USA Today Network reporter Dennis Wagner flies above the Otay Mesa Sector in California along the U.S.-Mexico border. He reports this is where the prototypes for the border wall are expected to be built.
Six companies, including two from Arizona, began Tuesday to construct prototypes of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Crews broke ground on a strip of land near the border in San Diego, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency tasked with securing the nation’s borders.
The eight designs — four of concrete and four of alternate materials — are expected to influence the design of the wall that President Donald Trump has promised to erect on the 2,000-mile border.
READ MORE: USA TODAY NETWORK’s project, “The Wall”
“We are committed to securing our border and that includes constructing border walls. Our multi-pronged strategy to ensure the safety and security of the American people includes barriers, infrastructure, technology and people,” Ronald Vitiello, CBP’s acting deputy commissioner, said in a statement Tuesday.
“Moving forward with the prototypes enables us to continue to incorporate all the tools necessary to secure our border,” he added.
Earlier this month, CBP awarded contracts to six companies to build their designs. The prototypes will be 30 feet long, and between 18 and 30 feet tall. Two companies will build two prototypes, one of concrete and one of an alternate material.
CBP said construction must be completed within 30 days. The agency will then take a few weeks to test them, determining how quickly and easily the prototype can be breached, and analyzing how effectively the companies incorporated anti-climbing mechanisms, see-through capabilities and other security features.
The companies chosen to build concrete prototypes are: Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. of Tempe; Caddell Construction Co. of Montgomery, Alabama; Texas Sterling Construction Co. of Houston; and W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Co. of Philadelphia, Mississippi.
The four companies that will build prototypes of alternate materials are: Caddel Construction and W.G. Yates & Sons, as well as KWR Construction of Sierra Vista and ELTA North America of Annapolis Junction, Maryland.