Work begins on border barrier replacement project in San Diego

Construction to replace a barrier along a 14-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border east of San Diego began Friday.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

Construction to replace barriers along a 14-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border began this week just east of Border Field State Park in San Diego, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

It is the third barrier replacement project to begin this year. Similar projects in Calexico and in Santa Teresa, N.M., are already underway. Funded during the first year of the Trump administration, the San Diego project that got underway Friday will replace fencing that was put up in the 1990s.

Administration officials describe the barrier replacement projects as part of President Trump’s promised “border wall.”


“Under this president’s leadership, we have a renewed commitment to secure our border,” said Ronald Vitiello, CBP’s acting deputy commissioner. “Not only does it significantly upgrade our existing infrastructure in San Diego, it also marks the third concurrent wall project in the U.S. and reflects CBP’s unwavering commitment to secure our borders and protect our nation.”

None of these projects look like any of the border wall prototypes that were unveiled in Otay Mesa last year. Trump inspected them in March on a trip to San Diego.

In Calexico, two miles of fencing are being replaced by 30-foot bollards — posts set close enough together to prevent a person from passing through but still allow people on either side to see one another. The Santa Teresa version has an opaque steel plate at the top of its bollards that a Department of Homeland Security official explained is an anti-climb feature.

The San Diego project will be similar to the one in Santa Teresa — bollards with a steel plate at the top. The bollards in San Diego will be between 18 and 30 feet tall, and they will run from about a half-mile inland from the ocean to the base of Otay Mountain.

SLSCO, a Texas-based construction corporation, won a $147-million contract for the project.

Morrissey writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.