BUILD THAT WALL

January 30, 2017


Certain portion of the information for this post come from the article entitled “How to Build Trump’s Controversial Wall” by Mr. Chris Wiltz.  Chris is a writer for Design News Daily.

 

OK, President Donald Trump indicated during pre-nomination televised exercises that if elected President, he will authorize building a wall between Mexico and the United States AND get the Mexican government to pay for it.  Now as President, he seems to be living up to fulfilling that somewhat lofty campaign promise.  From an engineering standpoint, how do you do that?

A direct quote from President Trump:  “We are in the middle of a crisis on our southern border: The unprecedented surge of illegal migrants from Central American is harming both Mexico and the United States,” Trump said in remarks reported by Reuters. “And I believe the steps we will take starting right now will improve the safety in both of our countries. … A nation without borders is not a nation.”

An analysis done by Politico estimates to do just that would total at least $5.1 billion US (not including annual maintenance costs). According to Politico:  “Those estimates come from a 2009 report from the Government Accountability Office [GAO], which found that it costs an average of $3.9 million to build one mile of fencing. About 670 miles of fencing is already up along the 1,989-mile southern border, so finishing the fence that’s already there would cost about $5.1 billion.

But the actual cost is likely much higher, according to experts. The vast majority of the existing border fence is single-layer fencing near urban areas, which is considerably easier to build. Much of the remaining 1,300 miles runs through rough terrains and remote areas without roads, so it’s fair to assume the per-mile cost of finishing the fence would be on the higher end of the GAO’s estimates, which was $15.1 million per mile.”

This is obviously a huge amount of money and the time necessary appears to be years and not months or certainly weeks.  The construction time of the Ming Wall was well over 2,000 years Many imperial dynasties and kingdoms built, rebuilt, and extended walls many times.  This wall subsequently eroded due to environmental issues and the materials used. The latest imperial construction was performed by the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), and the length was then over 6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles).

HOW WOULD WE DO IT:

In a September 2015 article for The National Memo , a structural engineer, writing under the pseudonym Ali F. Rhuzkan took on the challenge of mapping out the logistics of constructing Trump’s wall. I really do not know why Ali F. Rhuzkan was used but his article was very interesting.

Rhuzkan writes: “A successful border wall must be effective, cheap, and easily maintained. It should be built from readily available materials and should take advantage of the capabilities of the existing labor force. The wall should reach about five feet underground to deter tunneling, and should terminate about 20 feet above grade to deter climbing.”

A rendition of his design looks as follows:

diagram-of-the-wall

According to Rhuzkah, assuming the wall would be constructed using pre-cast concrete (cast in a factory, then shipped to the construction site) building a wall to the necessary specifications to meet the President’s demands for a roughly 2,000-mile border wall would require about 12,600,000 cubic yards of concrete. “In other words, this wall would contain over three times the amount of concrete used to build the Hoover Dam,” Rhuzkah writes, “Such a wall would be greater in volume than all six pyramids of the Giza Necropolis … That quantity of concrete could pave a one-lane road from New York to Los Angeles, going the long way around the Earth…”

And this is just the concrete. One also has to factor in the amount of steel needed to reinforce such a structure – about 5 billion pounds by Rhuzkah’s estimation – as well as the labor, production, and shipping costs of all the pieces. Not to mention the wall would have to be built and regularly maintained by workers that would ideally be paid and not slaves.

If you need a visual of what such a wall would look like, a group of interns at  Estudio 3.14 —a design firm based in Guadalajara, México have created a conceptual rendering that they’ve dubbed the Prison Wall . Estudio 3.14’s concept envisions a wall that crosses multiple terrains (hills, desert, a river, even the city of Tijuana) and also includes a built-in prison to detain those seeking to cross the border illegally, as well as a shopping mall and a viewpoint for tourists. By its renderings, the studio estimates the wall could employ up to 6 million people. As for why it’s pink, the studio said in a statement that, “Because the wall has to be beautiful, it has been inspired by Luis Barragán’s pink walls that are emblematic of Mexico.”

rendition

CONCLUSION:

I have a twenty (20) foot ladder in my workshop downstairs.  If I have one, the Mexican illegals probably can get one.  Here are my conclusions:

  1. A twenty (20) foot wall is much too short. Forty or even fifty (50) in some places will be necessary.
  2. Five (5) foot depth is much much too shallow. I could tunnel under a five-foot depth.  At least fifteen (15) in some places will be necessary.
  3. It would be wonderfully wise if someone could and would estimate the maintenance cost on an annual basis so we know what’s coming.
  4. It does not matter how high the wall; additional patrolling will be necessary by our Border Patrol. Please estimate the added costs for that.
  5. Please forget the government of Mexico paying for the wall. I WILL NOT HAPPEN. President Trump indicated he may assign added import taxes to pay for the wall.  Those will be passed on to the American people.  You know that.
  6. I hope it’s obvious that I do not know the complete answer to this one, but you have to give credit to President Trump. He is trying and, in my opinion, making progress is not waves.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Advertisements

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: