SAN DIEGO (CBSLA.com) — Hundreds of companies have submitted bids to the federal government to build the highly contentious, divisive southern border wall, but Rod Hadrian is just one of the few willing to talk about it.
“We could put the wall up, probably a mile of it, probably in three weeks,” Hadrian says.
The wall is a proposal so controversial that the anger over it directed at politicians is also being felt by potential builders. Activists have been caught on video gathering outside one San Diego contracting firm, R.E. Staite Engineering, who would not return requests for comment. Neither would several other San Diego bidders with offices within a short distance of the Mexico border.
California lawmakers have moved forward on a bill to essentially punish companies who work on the proposed wall by banning them from winning any state contracts.
“If you want to do business on Trump’s wall, if you want to work on that, then California quite frankly doesn’t want to do business with you,” state Sen. Ricardo Lara has said to CNN.
Hadrian says his motives for bidding on the controversial wall are financial, not political.
“I have a lot of Hispanics that work for me. I treat a couple like my son,” he says.
The San Diego home he’s building is made out of the same material he wants to use for the wall.
“This is a sample,” Hadrian says. “It’s 30 feet high and 20 feet across.”
Dubbed “tridipanels,” the walls start with a special foam that’s covered with wire mesh, then reinforced with rebar. The foam can be replaced with rebar, and then the walls are blasted with a thick coat of concrete.
“I can probably build this wall for $3 and a half million to $4 million per mile. I have quotes from contractors,” Hadrian says. “I know that we can do it. Everybody else is almost double.”
Starting in June, a select few of the bidders will have to prove their skills by constructing prototypes, or mini walls. The prototypes will be built in San Diego, in the Otay Mesa area close to existing border fencing, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The prototypes will be required to be 18 to 30 feet tall and 30 feet long and must prevent tunneling at 6 feet underground. They can be solid concrete or have a see-through component and must be able to stand up to sledgehammers, car jacks, pick axes and other cutting tools or torches.
Additionally, the walls must have an anti-climb texture and be “aesthetically pleasing.”
Rick Taylor is another San Diego-area contractor who was unafraid of publicly acknowledging he bid on the wall. His iCon Wall System is made concrete and steel and is designed laying down, so artistic features can be set in.
“So when you lift the wall up, it’s got décor on both sides, which makes it appealing on both sides, which may get Mexico interested in chipping in a little bit of the money because now they get to look at something that’s beautiful as well,” Taylor said.
Taylor’s company, CCI, has several employees who are Latino who were consulted before they submit a bid on the controversial wall.
“They said if it’s good for the business, why not. And that’s what it is,” Taylor said. “It’s a business opportunity. We’re builders, not politicians.”