The newly unveiled prototypes of President Trump’s much-anticipated border wall with Mexico are about to be tested to the max — by workers wielding sledgehammers, torches, pickaxes and battery-operated tools.
The testing lasting up to two months could lead to officials concluding that elements of several designs should be merged to create effective walls, said Ronald Vitiello, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s acting deputy commissioner. That raises the possibility of no winner or winners.
“Can it be climbed? Can it be dug under? Can it withstand cutting tools?” Vitiello said.
After the walls are pounded with the instrument, Vitiello said the several designs could be combined to create the most impenetrable border possible.
The testing won’t start for at least a month because some concrete in the wall prototypes still needs to dry.
The eight walls of concrete and steel were constructed just east of Tijuana this month. Contractors were awarded between $300,000 and $500,000 for each model and had a month to build them.
Trump has asked Congress for $1.6 billion for the first installment of his wall. It would replace 14 miles (22.4 kilometers) in San Diego and build 60 miles (96 kilometers) in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.
During the presidential campaign, Trump had repeatedly promised to make Mexico pay for the wall.