8 Ways to Build a Border Wall
Authors: Jennifer Medina, Josh Haner, Josh Williams, Quoctrung Bui, The New York Times
SAN DIEGO — They all stand neatly in a row: eight large panels on a barren dirt patch just a few hundred yards from the San Diego border with Mexico. Unveiled in late October, these are the prototypes for the border wall President Donald Trump has vowed to erect on the southern border. Later this year, the federal government will test the panels for strength and effectiveness.
These prototypes make clear that a border wall is not simple: It can vary considerably in material, shape and cost. And while it is far from clear that Congress will pay for a wall or that any of these designs will be built at wider scale, they are real-life renderings of a promise that fueled much of Trump’s campaign.
Six contractors have made bids on the wall, and the specific details of their plans are not public. But they allowed us to visit the prototypes, and we asked border security experts and engineers what they saw in each design and what challenges each wall may face.
Every expert agreed on one thing: Finding a design that would work for the entire length of the border would be extremely hard, if not impossible. And many caution that such a wall may never happen.
The prototypes present the government with a number of choices: