Border wall prototype contractors stand out of spotlight while final build waits

Posted at 4:09 PM, Mar 12, 2018

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - It's been months since construction began on eight prototypes for a wall to span the U.S.-Mexico divide. 

The structures, built by six companies that have largely remained out of the spotlight, faced a barrage of tests by border officials, reportedly including jackhammers, saws, torches and other tools and climbing devices to try and thwart the walls.

The contractors tasked with building the prototypes were:

  • W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company (other than concrete material)
  • W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company (concrete) 
  • ELTA North America Inc. (other than concrete material)
  • Caddell Construction Co., (DE),LLC (concrete)
  • Caddell Construction Co., (DE),LLC (other than concrete material)
  • Texas Sterling Construction Co. (concrete)
  • KWR Construction, Inc. (other than concrete material)
  • Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries (concrete)

No San Diego companies were successful in winning a contract for the prototypes.

Contractors were paid between $300,000 and $500,000 for each prototype. But when it comes to the final version, it's unclear how much the government will award a contract or those details. 

According to an AP report, officials have recommended combining attributes from the prototypes together to finalize a design. It remains up to Congress to finalize any build of the wall.

What's also unclear is security provided to the winning builder. One potential bidder told the AP they were concerned over protection is workers came under "hostile attack" or if workers could arm themselves during construction.

In addition to security, part of the reason contractors may shy away from the limelight falls on business.

As recently as February 2018, some locales have taken steps to boycott the companies involved with the prototype construction project.

Austin City Council voted to prohibit any city business with contractors employed to design, build, or maintain the wall, according to Newsweek. Austin, Texas, joined cities in California, New York, Illinois and Rhode Island to consider or outright ban business with border wall contractors.

San Diego City Council leaders voted to formally oppose President Trump's executive order last September.

The local resolution allows the San Diego City Attorney, Independent Budget Analyst, and staff to put together a disclosure program for city contractors. Overall, it signals the San Diego leaders' intent to deprive companies involved with the wall of any support.

The costs on business have already been felt by San Diegans. 

In the last three months of 2017, the county spent more than $1.5 million in salaries and overtime in activity related to the wall, such as protecting private property near it from protests. For example, one month last year saw $826,000 for San Diego Police's extra personnel and supplies.