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March 25, 2017

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Trump wants wall to be 30 feet tall, take an hour to chisel through

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration wants to build a 30-foot-high border wall that looks good from the north side and is difficult to climb or cut through, according to a pair of contract notices posted to a government website further detailing President Donald Trump's promise to build a "big, beautiful wall" at the Mexican border.

The notices were made public late Friday by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Homeland Security Department agency that will oversee the project and eventually patrol and maintain the wall. The proposals are due to the government by March 29.

One of the CBP contract requests calls for a solid concrete wall, while the other asks for proposals for a see-through structure.

Both require the wall to sunk at least six feet into the ground and include 25- and 50-foot automated gates for pedestrians and vehicles. The proposed wall must also be built in a such a way that it would take at least an hour to cut through it with a "sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch or other similar hand-held tools."

The government will award a contract based on 30-foot-wide sample walls that are to be built in San Diego.

This is the latest step in the Trump administration plan to build a border wall. Last month CBP put out a call for "concept papers" to design and build prototypes by March 10.

It's unclear from the latest contract notices if any firms have submitted wall proposals or if any such submissions have been rejected.

The government has not said where the wall will be built, though the contract notices suggest some pieces of a new wall could replace existing fencing that stretches over about 700 miles of the roughly 2,000-mile border.

This week the president sent a budget proposal to Congress that included a US$2.6 billion down payment for the wall. The total cost for the project is unclear, but the Government Accountability Office estimates it would cost about US$6.5 million a mile for fence to keep pedestrians from crossing the border and about US$1.8 million a mile for a vehicle barrier.

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