Border wall prototypes are in competition to fulfill Trump

Eight prototypes of US President Donald Trump’s US-Mexico border wall have been built near San Diego.

Following up on President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall along the entire 2,000-mile Mexican frontier, the Department of Homeland Security began building prototypes for the barrier along the border in San Diego and Imperial counties, as it announced in August.

The prototypes form a tightly packed row of imposing concrete and metal panels, including one with sharp metal edges on top. Another has a surface resembling an expensive brick driveway.

Companies had had until October 26 to finish the models. Crews installed a corrugated metal surface on the eighth model on a dirt lot just a few steps from homes in Tijuana, Mexico last week.

The models, which cost the government up to $486,000 each, have been spaced 30 feet apart.

Slopes, thickness and curves vary. One has two shades of blue with white trim. The others are gray, tan or brown – in sync with the desert.

Bidding guidelines called for the prototypes to stand between 18 and 30 feet high and be able to withstand at least an hour of punishment from a sledgehammer, pickaxe, torch, chisel or battery-operated tools.

Features also should prevent the use of climbing aids such as grappling hooks, and the segments must be ‘aesthetically pleasing’ when viewed from the U.S. side.

The administration hasn’t said how many winners it will pick or whether Trump will weigh in himself. There is a chance that none of the prototypes will be selected.

Roy Villareal, acting chief patrol agent of the San Diego border sector, told reporters: ‘It may not result in a singular winner. It may be a combination of designs being implemented.’

There are currently 654 miles of single-layer fence on the 1,954-mile border, plus 51 miles of double- and triple-layer fence.

Trump has asked Congress for $1.6bn to replace 14 miles of wall in San Diego and build 60 miles in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. Democrats have balked at the request.