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US/Mex Border Wall Delayed by Bidder Protests

Possible winter timeline for prototype construction start

July 28, 2017

Construction of prototypes for the Trump administration border wall separating Mexico from the U.S. has been delayed until winter due to four formal protests from two contract bidders who were passed over during the bid selection process.

The wall prototypes had been set to be constructed along the border near San Diego so that the designs could be tested in a real-world environment.

However, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection office, part of the Department of Homeland Security, delayed the prototype construction Thursday because two companies, identified as WNIS and PennaGroup who did not make it to the second bid level, filed protests.

According to CNN and AP, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) dismissed the WNIS protests but the Fort Worth-based PennaGroup protests are still being evaluated.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the PennaGroup's proposal is for a double wire mesh fence 30 feet tall with a 6-foot footing that has a sheet of plexiglass lined with a one-way mirror allowing border patrol agents to see the Mexico side, but not the reverse. The double-lined, double-wire mesh design is often used in maximum-security prisons.

The GAO said  contractor protests are common during federal contracting processes, but no contracts can be awarded until all protests are resolved. GAO is required to issue a decision on any protest within 100 days of its filing, which would in this case delay construction until early November.

The wall prototypes, to be selected from eight to 10 companies, are required to be 30 feet long and up to 30 feet high, impossible to overcome, and look nice from the U.S. side.

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