MEXICO CITY (dpa-AFX) - The US government has awarded a $167-million contract to a Galveston, Texas-based construction company to build a levee wall in south Texas along the United States' border with Mexico to prevent the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants to the country.
The contract was awarded the day hundreds of U.S.-bound Latin American migrants, who started their grueling journey on foot from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, arrived at the border fence that separates Mexico from California.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced Wednesday that as per the contract, SLSCO will build an 8-mile stretch of levee wall system in the U.S. Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley Sector.
The contract for this project, referred to as RGV-02, was jointly awarded by CBP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Construction work will begin in February.
The project consists of five segments located south of Alamo, Donna, Weslaco, Progreso and Mercedes, within Hidalgo County. The wall is constructed in two stages. A reinforced concrete levee wall will be built as foundation, and 18-foot tall steel bollards will be installed on top of it. The levee wall system will include detection technology, lighting, video surveillance, and an all-weather patrol road parallel to the levee wall.
This is the second border wall contract that CBP is awarding in Texas. The first one, a $145-million contract to build a 6.21 mile-stretch in the Rio Grande Valley, also was awarded to SLC.
A wide area of vegetation along a 150-foot enforcement zone throughout the levee wall system will be felled for the construction, which has already evoked concerns from environmental activists.
Four US states share border with Mexico, stretching more than 1900 miles - California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
The House of Representatives, when it had a Republican majority last year, had approved a bill that includes $1.6 billion fund for building the wall.
Meanwhile, the first batch of Central American migrants have reportedly reached the southern border Wednesday, and a larger 4000-strong migrant caravan dramatically accelerated its pace to join them at the Mexican border city of Tijuana.
Trump has vowed to prevent them from crossing to the United States, and has deployed some 5,900 troops to the border.
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