Challenges in Building a Border Wall

Challenges in Building a Border Wall

June 13, 2018

President Donald Trump has certainly been working hard to attempt to make his campaign promise of a wall along the country’s southern border into a reality. But is this “big, beautiful wall” really feasible?

Critics of the proposed wall have pointed to a lot of different factors, mostly financial, indicating the wall would be a colossal waste of money and resources. But there are geological factors to consider as well.

Here is some information from a land surveyor about why geology would pose challenges to the wall that would perhaps be insurmountable.

What to know

There is currently a fence in place along the southern border, which features about 650 miles of different types of segments, mostly made of steel posts and rails, metal sheeting, some chain link, concrete vehicle barriers and mesh. The plans to build the wall would include replacing that fence with a 20- to 50-foot tall concrete structure that would span a total of approximately 1,000 miles along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Before any construction could begin, surveyors would need to analyze a wide variety of details, from the depth of bedrock to the chemistry of the soil. This means, in this case, that the surveyors would need to analyze this information over the course of a thousand miles, a far more difficult process than erecting individual structures or shorter barriers. The boundary survey in New Braunfels, TX and beyond would likely take years to complete. In fact, just a few miles of pipeline could take years of field surveys.

President Trump’s orders only allow for six months of surveying and planning, which is simply impossible to accomplish in a project of this scale.

Bedrock is also an issue to consider. For a 1,000-mile wall that will stand at least 20 feet tall, builders would need to anchor the entire structure far beneath the surface to the bedrock for it to stay upright. However, getting to bedrock can be extremely difficult, and in some places it could be hundreds or even thousands of feet down, depending on the region and soil sediment makeup.

The only other options would be compacting the sediment and creating deeper foundations, which would go at least six to eight feet below the surface. However, this would be an extremely expensive, time-consuming process.

Dirt also needs to be taken into consideration. Some sediments can take on water and swell up like a sponge, which results in repeated swelling and shrinking as the weather varies between wet and dry. This can crack structural foundations. Or, if the dirt is naturally acidic, it could degrade the materials used to build the wall.

These are only a few of the potential challenges facing the construction of a border wall. While these challenges could all be overcome for small projects, something as large-scale as a 20- to 50-foot wall spread out over 1,000 feet is near impossible to build with any reasonable degree of safety without spending an unthinkable amount of money.

If you’re dealing with a property dispute in New Braunfels, TX, contact Bettersworth & Associates, Inc. today to speak with one of our experts.

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