CALEXICO — Construction of a replacement border barrier going up east of Calexico near Bowker Road was only briefly disrupted when high winds on Jan. 29 partially collapsed a short portion of it, a federal official said.
The Calexico area is
getting 26 miles of barrier consisting of steel posts up to 30 feet high.
“The section of panels
that were impacted during the high winds last week were recovered that same day
(Wednesday, 1/29) and construction continued in that area,” according to a Feb.
4 email from Agent Carlos Pitones, of the public affairs office of the U.S.
Border Patrol El Centro Sector.
“This section did consist
of the bollard style fencing approximately 2.5 miles east of the downtown
(Calexico) Port of Entry,” he added.
The damage occurred between
11 a.m. and noon on Jan. 29 when a section of braced panels that had been
erected into freshly poured concrete that morning came down while the contractor
was on site, Pitones previously reported. The concrete was not yet cured.
Winds on that day in the
area were reported in excess of 30 miles per hour.
The damage made national
news and was reported on the website of the international news network, CNN.
The Calexico-area segments of new barrier have been among those frequently
touted by President Donald J. Trump as proof he is keeping his 2016 campaign
promise to build a border “wall.”
The sections in Calexico
replace shorter barriers that had been in place for decades.
There are two current
“Border Wall Projects” underway in the Calexico area, Pitones added.
They include a 15-mile
project covering an area along the border from nine miles west of the downtown Calexico
Port of Entry to 24 miles west of the port. It is 65 percent complete (10.4
miles) as of Feb. 4.
Work began in May 2019
and scheduled completion is December 2020. The contractor is BFBC, LLC.
Another 11-mile project covers
an area along the border from nine miles west of the downtown port to four
miles east of the port. The wind damage occurred in this section. It is 69
percent complete (7.8 miles) as of Feb. 4.
Work began in May 2019
and scheduled completion is October 2020. The contractor is SLS Co. Ltd. This
segment does not include the 2.2 miles of barrier completed in 2018.
The city of Calexico has
not recently been given an update on the barrier projects, City Manager David
Dale said Jan. 31.
As for the downed section
near Bowker, it was not immediately available how many linear feet of barrier
fell but it was all braced together while the concrete was curing and setting,
Pitones explained. No other segment was believed to have been affected and no
one was injured when the panels partially came down, he added.
Although the seemingly
“breached” section of barrier made for a good show across social media and
through national and international news reports, it did not affect border
security, Pitones stated. There is customarily a heavier detail of Border
Patrol agents in the immediate vicinity of construction as sections of the old barrier
come down and new go up, he explained.
Some news photos showed a
section of the barrier partially collapsed toward the Mexican side of the