New border wall construction contracts awarded, work may start in September

FILE - In this July 24, 2014, file photo, a bend in the Rio Grande is viewed from a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter on patrol over in Mission, Texas. The U.S. government says a teenage Guatemalan died Monday, May 20, 2019, at a Border Patrol station in South Texas, the fifth death of a migrant child since December. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that Border Patrol apprehended the teenager in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley on May 13. The agency says the teenager was found unresponsive Monday morning during a welfare check at the agency's Weslaco, Texas, station. The teenager's cause of death is unknown. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, Pool, File)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced late Wednesday they had awarded another contract for border wall construction in Hidalgo County, a news release states.

CBP in partnership with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, awarded Southwest Valley Constructors Co. for the base contract amount of $80,869,000 for 11 miles of new levee wall system in three non-contiguous segments located within U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector in Hidalgo County, the release states.

“The project area begins at the intersection of Conway Road and the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) levee in Mission, Texas and extends eastward to approximately one quarter mile west of Stewart Road and the IBWC levee south of San Juan, Texas,” according to the release.

CBP said construction will take place in locations where no barriers currently exist.

“The levee wall system will be very similar to previously constructed levee wall in the RGV area during 2008, but the system will also include all-weather roads, lighting, enforcement cameras, and other related technology to create a complete enforcement zone,” the CBP release states. “CBP’s designs for levee wall system consist of steel bollards at a minimum height of 18 feet atop a concrete wall to the height of the existing flood levee.”

Because of language in CBP’s FY 2019 appropriation, border wall construction will not take place at the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, La Lomita Historical Park, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, within or east of the Vista del Mar Ranch tract of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, or the National Butterfly Center.

The total contract value, including options, is $304,600,000.

Additionally, on July 31, 2019, CBP, in partnership with USACE, awarded a contract to construct border wall gates in USBP’s RGV Sector, the CBP release states.

This contract includes the construction of 25 gates and is funded by CBP’s FY 2017 appropriation.

Gate construction includes the installation of automated border wall gates, associated equipment, and site improvements at current openings in the existing barrier in the USBP RGV Sector.

The gates will be located off the IBWC levee at the end of or along existing levee ramps. 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.

Construction is estimated to begin as early as September 30, 2019, pending the availability of real estate.