Challenges ahead for US-Mexico border fence construction

The initial work is being carried out by Sukut, California’s largest mass excavation company, and involves the construction of 8.4km of border fence and an adjacent access road to make the route safe for heavy equipment.The whole fence project will cost $US11.2 million ($A15.7 million), and Sukut has been subcontracted by Granite Construction for the site development and road construction.The section of border fence being worked on by Sukut will be constructed at the Otay Mesa illegal border crossing in the rugged foothills above the Tijuana River. The site is south of the city of Dulzura and 12.8km from the nearest major road, Highway 94. Sukut said the remoteness of the location and the steep, rocky terrain made this a popular illegal border crossing, which also contributed to the complexity of the job. The company said it would begin the work by widening 4km of existing dirt road used by the US Border Patrol, constructing a 9.75m wide, 8.4km long border fence access road. The location’s steep grade will require a switchback roadway with a maximum grade of 15% at the steepest points. “Carving roads through rocky terrain is what our company excels in,” said Sukut president Michael Ortiz. Sukut will use extensive drilling and blasting to clear 405,000 cubic metres of rock and dirt in the foothills. To prevent any rockslides across the Mexican border, the company will employ geo-grid slope stabilisation.

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