No Picture

DHS Selects 4 Contractors To Build Prototypes For Trump’s Border Wall

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

The Department of Homeland Security has finally reached a decision in the long-delayed process of selecting contractors who will build prototypes of President Donald Trump’s promised border wall. The department announced Thursday that it has selected four contractors to build wall prototypes, and that construction is slated to begin this winter, according to CNN.

The announcement comes after the Government Accountability Office on Friday dismissed a complaint filed by contractors who claimed their bids had been passed over, allowing DHS to move forward after the complaints had threatened to delay the selection until November.

Customs and Border Protection’s acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald Vitiello announced that the designs will be constructed along the San Diego border. Four companies will be doing the building: Caddell Construction Co (DE), LLC, of Montgomery, Alabama; Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries, of Tempe, Arizona; Texas Sterling Construction Co., of Houston, Texas; W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, of Philadelphia, Mississippi.  

The government made two requests when it asked for bids: Designs for a 30-foot concrete wall, and anything else. The latter design plan will be revealed next week, CBP said.

According to CNN, construction on the wall prototypes was delayed after the shunned contractors filed protests about the decision back in July. The original plan had been to start construction in June.

However, further delays could ensue if bidders who weren’t selected choose to file complaints, the CBP said.

‘CBP did note that once contracts are awarded, companies will have another opportunity to protest, which could add further delays. Nevertheless, CBP said ‘we are confident in our processes, and we will proceed deliberately, to ensure compliance with the law.’”

The new designs that were selected will be added to the CBP’s “menu” of options for the wall.

“The prototypes will ‘help us create a ‘design standard’ for operational walls,’ CBP said. ‘The new designs would be added to our menu of existing designs, and allow us to tailor a specific wall design to the unique demands of individual areas of the border.’”

The money for the process came from $20 million that Congress authorized the Department of Homeland Security to pull from other places in the budget earlier this year after President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January directing the federal government to begin construction on the border wall as soon as possible.

Of course, Congress has yet to appropriate any money for construction. Trump, for his part, has vowed to veto any spending bills that reach his desk in September unless they include funding for the wall – a promise that’s been complicated by Hurricane Harvey.

Read the full release below:

* * *

WASHINGTON – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced today that contracts have been awarded for concrete prototypes of the Border Wall.

The companies selected to construct concrete border wall prototypes are:

Caddell Construction Co., (DE), LLC, Montgomery, Alabama,

Fisher Sand & Gravel Co., DBA Fisher Industries, Tempe, Arizona,

Texas Sterling Construction Co., Houston, Texas, and

W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Philadelphia, Mississippi.

These concrete prototypes will serve two important ends. First, given their robust physical characteristics, like, reinforced concrete, between 18-30 feet high, the concrete border wall prototypes are designed to deter illegal crossings in the area in which they are constructed.

Second, the concrete border wall prototypes will allow CBP to evaluate the potential for new wall and barrier designs that could complement the wall and barrier designs we have used along the border over the last several years. As the border security environment continues to evolve, CBP will continually refresh its own inventory of tools to meet that evolution.

CBP will make a decision on the “other materials” Request for Proposal (RFP) in the next week. CBP officials will meet with the vendors and determine construction timeline, however we expect to construct the prototypes in the fall.

Issued Jan. 25, Presidential Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements, states that “the [Department of Homeland Security] Secretary shall take steps to immediately plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.”

On March 17, CBP issued two Requests for Proposals to acquire conceptual wall designs with the intent to construct multiple prototypes. One RFP called for concrete wall design and the other RFP called for Other than Concrete wall design. Today, CBP announces the award of the concrete prototype contracts. Prototyping is an industry-tested approach to identify additional solutions when considering a new product or methodology. Through the construction of prototypes, CBP will partner with industry to identify the best means and methods to construct a border wall.

The prototypes will inform future design standards which will likely continue to evolve to meet the U.S. Border Patrol’s requirements. Through the prototyping process, CBP may identify new designs or influences for new designs that will expand the current border barrier toolkit that CBP could use to construct a border wall system. The border barrier toolkit is based on USBP’s requirements.

*  *  *

While no images of the selected designs have been released, we noted a number of them in April

“As Pretty as the Parthenon”


RENDERING BY CRISIS RESOLUTION SECURITY SERVICES, INC.

WHO Crisis Resolution Security Services of Clarence, Ill., a global security management firm

DESIGN CRSS says the wall is meant to evoke famous walls in history, using crenellations, parapets and buttresses, and would be “as pretty as the Parthenon.” The wall would be built on a 30-foot-high dirt berm, graded to prevent vehicles from approaching. It also would follow existing interior roads and highways, which the company says would make it easier to transport materials and to maintain, while avoiding private-property issues. It would also create a wide zone in some places between the wall and the border. Bridges and gates would allow the inhabitants of that zone to cross.

* * *

Doubling as Nuclear Waste Facility


RENDERING BY CLAYTON INDUSTRIES

WHO Clayton Industries of Pittsburgh

DESIGN Owner Christian Clayton has proposed devising a wall that would carry electricity generated from municipal, medical and nuclear waste. “The wall is just a building block,” Mr. Clayton said. “Think of the wall as big conduit.” Mr. Clayton declined to detail many specifics of his plan, which would involve plants to convert the waste into power. Spent nuclear fuel rods and other waste would be buried 100 feet deep in a buffer zone between the border and the wall.

* * *

At an Angle


RENDERING BY CHANLIN INC.

WHO Chanlin Inc., of Middle River, Minn., a steel-fabrication construction company

DESIGN Chanlin’s design for a concrete wall consists of using 10-foot-wide by 30-foot-high panels with embedded steel plates welded in a vertical position. To prevent climbing or scaling with a hook, the design would be tilted 30 degrees toward Mexico and include a smooth concrete finish with a steel cap plate. Steel bars would allow border patrol to be able to see through the fence.

* * *

Design Beyond Reach


DRAWINGS BY J.M. DESIGN STUDIO

WHO J.M. Design Studio of Pittsburgh, an all-women team of designers and artists

DESIGN In a submission meant to protest the project, J.M. Design Studio’s proposals are designed to “invite other realms of thought and consideration.” One sketch shows nearly three million hammocks, for anyone’s use, strung across the border with 30-foot trees for support. Another one has a semicontinuous wall of nearly 10 million 30-foot-tall pipe organs, with openings every 20 feet allowing for people to pass through. Jennifer Meridian, a Pittsburgh artist involved in the submissions, called the actual border wall project “preposterous for so many reasons.”

* * *

Memorial Wall


RENDERINGS BY REILLY CONSTRUCTION

WHO Reilly Construction and Croell Inc., both of Iowa

DESIGN This joint venture would use tilt-slab construction consisting of concrete with reinforced fibers that the company says would make the wall more durable and resistant to damage. The panels would be 30 feet high and 15 feet wide with a footing underground to prevent tunneling. The concrete material could be engraved, colored or etched to make it more aesthetically appealing or should there be an interest in establishing a memorial in some places.

* * *

Hadrian’s Wall


HADRIAN CONSTRUCTION

WHO Hadrian Construction Co. of Carlsbad, Calif.

DESIGN Company owner Rod Hadrian says his prefabricated product would make the wall cheaper and easier to install in remote border areas. The tridipanel wall system could be made to any thickness or color, and the diagonal pattern is meant to give the wall extra strength.

* * *

One-Way Visibility


RENDERING BY MICHAEL EVANGELISTA-YSASAGA, PENNA GROUP

WHO Penna Group of Fort Worth, Texas

DESIGN Penna Group’s proposal is for a double wire mesh fence that has a sheet of plexiglass lined with a one-way mirror allowing border patrol agents to see the Mexico side, but not the reverse. The fence would be 30 feet tall with a 6-foot footing, and both would be designed to sustain tampering by pickaxes, hammers, hand-tools, and torches for over an hour and a half. The double-lined, double-wire mesh design is often used in maximum-security prisons.

* * *

Perch


SAN DIEGO PROJECT MANAGEMENT, PSC

WHO San Diego Project Management, PSC, a full-service design-build organization

DESIGN This firm submitted a design for a wall similar to the ones used to protect medieval castles in Europe, according to the company. Most notably, the proposal includes a walkway on top called a “chemin de ronde” that allows for border agents to see Mexico through optical ports.

* * *

Camouflage


RENDERING BY CONCRETE CONTRACTORS INTERSTATE, SINGLE EAGLE INC.

WHO Single Eagle Inc. of Poway, Calif., a structural and decorative concrete specialist

DESIGN This proposal has a design option that could incorporate artistic representations of local cultures. The walls are built using a tilt-up method that is cast onsite and then put into position, making it easier to built the wall in remote areas.

* * *

Sensors


RENDERING BY DARKPULSE TECHNOLOGIES INC.

WHO DarkPulse Technologies, based in Arizona and New York

DESIGN Ballistic concrete is used, which the company says could withstand more than 12 hours of tampering. Using sensors, the wall and below-ground structure would notify border agents of the exact location of any tampering in real time. The wall would also include coating designed to prevent climbing and the use of grappling hooks.

* * *

Technology First


RENDERING BY VSCENARIO

WHO vScenario, a San Diego construction-technology company

DESIGN vScenario’s design would begin by using drones to develop a 3-D spatial model of the terrain. The proposed wall would feature cameras, volumetric microwave sensors and fiberoptics designed to detect intrusions.

* * *

Fitting In


WTC CONSTRUCTION

WHO WTC Construction

DESIGN This design aims to mimic a “rammed-Earth” construction style, which uses natural raw materials. The goal is a wall designed to look like an “extension of the surrounding landscape,” says the company. The system would include panels attached to reinforced concrete piers nested together to form a solid structure.

* * *

Mesh Fencing


RIVERDALE MILLS

WHO Riverdale Mills of Northbridge, Mass.

DESIGN A galvanized welded wire mesh called WireWall, which the company says is virtually impossible to climb or cut. The company’s fencing is in use along the U.S.-Mexico border in California, as seen above. The fencing could be up to 20 feet tall and could be installed to reach 6 feet below ground.

* * *

A Twist on Steel


HELIX STEEL

WHO Helix Steel, a unit of Pensmore Reinforcement Technologies, of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Leesburg, Va.

DESIGN Helix would mix concrete with its Twisted Steel Micro Rebar, a reinforcement designed to prevent cracking. The material is now used at some residential and commercial sites.

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No Picture

Irma Turning Into Monster Hurricane: “Highest Windspeed Forecasts I’ve Ever Seen”

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Hurricane Irma continues to strengthen much faster than pretty much any computer model predicted as of yesterday or even this morning.  Per the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) latest update, Irma is currently a Cat-3 storm with sustained winds of 115 mph but is expected to strengthen to a devastating Cat-5 with winds that could top out at 180 mph or more.  Here is the latest from the NHC as of 5PM EST:

Irma has become an impressive hurricane with intense eyewall convection surrounding a small eye.  Satellite estimates continue to rapidly rise, and the Dvorak classifications from both TAFB & SAB support an initial wind speed of 100 kt.  This is a remarkable 50-kt increase from yesterday at this time.

 

Irma continues moving west-northwestward, now at about 10 kt. There has been no change to the forecast philosophy, with the hurricane likely to turn westward and west-southwestward over the next few days due to a building ridge over the central Atlantic.  At long range, however, model guidance is not in good agreement on the strength of the ridge, resulting in some significant north-south differences in the global models.  I am inclined to stay on the southwestern side of the model guidance, given the rather consistent forecasts of the ECMWF and its ensemble.  In addition, the strongest members of the recent ensembles are on the southern side on the consensus, giving some confidence in that approach.

 

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INIT  31/2100Z 17.3N  34.8W  100 KT 115 MPH

12H  01/0600Z 17.8N  36.2W  105 KT 120 MPH

24H  01/1800Z 18.2N  38.3W  105 KT 120 MPH

36H  02/0600Z 18.3N  40.7W  105 KT 120 MPH

48H  02/1800Z 17.9N  42.9W  105 KT 120 MPH

72H  03/1800Z 16.8N  47.5W  110 KT 125 MPH

96H  04/1800Z 16.0N  52.0W  115 KT 130 MPH

120H  05/1800Z 16.5N  56.5W  120 KT 140 MPH

As of now, Irma remains in the far eastern Atlantic ocean and is moving west at roughly 11.5 mph.  Based on current projections, the storm will make its first landfall in the eastern Caribbean sometime toward the middle of next week.

IRMA

 

Longer term computer models still vary widely but suggest that Irma will make landfall in the U.S. either in the Gulf of Mexico or Florida.  Meteorological Scientist Michael Ventrice of the Weather Channel is forecasting windspeeds of up to 180 mph, which he described as the “highest windspeed forecasts I’ve ever seen in my 10 yrs of Atlantic hurricane forecasting.”

These are the highest windspeed forecasts I’ve ever seen in my 10 yrs of Atlantic hurricane forecasting. #Irma is another retiree candidate. pic.twitter.com/e6nMsp1myY

— Michael Ventrice (@MJVentrice) August 31, 2017

In a separate tweet, Ventrice had the following troubling comment: “Wow, a number of ECMWF EPS members show a maximum-sustained windspeed of 180+mph for #Irma, rivaling Hurricane #Allen (1980) for record wind”

Meanwhile, the Weather Channel has the “most likely” path of Irma passing directly over Antigua, Puerto Rico and Domincan Republic toward the middle of next week.

pic.twitter.com/XTQtUur1PH Nuevo análisis del huracán #Irma por The Weather Channel

— Roberto F. Pardo A. (@robertofaridp) August 31, 2017

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No Picture

In Latest Reversal, Trump Weighs Tying Debt Limit Increase To Harvey Disaster Aid

September 1, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

This afternoon, we showed that even as stocks were pushing back to all time highs, a part of the Treasury market was turmoiling as the “debt ceiling” T-Bill spread (Sept/Oct) blew out to the widest level on record.

 

There were several possible catalysts suggested for this spike in concerns about a favorable outcome of the debt ceiling negotiation, which has to be concluded ahead of the Treasury’s X Date, now expected as early as October 1: some cited Steven Mnuchin’s interview on CNBC, in which the Treasury Secretary said that the additional spending needed to help Texas recover from Hurricane Harvey may reduce the amount of time Congress has to increase the federal debt limit; another possibility was month-end liquidity needs and relative positioning across the curve. But the most likely explanation is that earlier today the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus said aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey should not be part of a vehicle to raise the debt ceiling.

Quoted by The Hill, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Trump ally who leads the conservative caucus, said disaster aid should pass on its own, apart from separate measures the government must pick up in September to raise the nation’s borrowing limit and fund the government.

“The Harvey relief would pass on its own, and to use that as a vehicle to get people to vote for a debt ceiling is not appropriate,” he said an interview with The Washington Post, signaling agreement with what Trump’s approach on the matter has been. It would “send the wrong message” to add $15 to $20 billion of spending while increasing the debt ceiling, Meadows added.

Ironically, as we showed previously, it was precisely the Harvey disaster that prompted Goldman yesterday to lower its odds for a government shutdown from 50% to 33%, on the assumption that it would make conservatives more agreeable to a compromise, when in fact precisely the opposite appears to have happened, and the new dynamic is now playing out in the market where the odds of a government shutdown have never been greater.

Well, late on Thursday the dynamic changed yet again, as Trump now appears to have changed his mind, and instead of seeking a “clean” debt ceiling increase as he did as recently as one week ago, when he adopted the Democratic Party’s (and Steven Mnuchin’s) position and bucking conservatives who traditionally demand new curbs on spending in exchange for authorizing more debt, Bloomberg reported that Trump is now weighing tying the debt limit increase to the initial $5.95 billion request in disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey.

According to Bloomberg, the White House request, which could be unveiled as soon as tomorrow, would include $5.5 billion to FEMA and the remainder to the Small Business Administration. The request is being prepared primarily to cover funding demands through the Sept. 30 end of the federal fiscal year.

Earlier in the day, Texas Republican Senator Weber said Congress will most likely vote on the “first phase” of emergency relief money for Hurricane Harvey in mid-September, which however did not incorporate Trump’s revised plan and/or schedule.

Tying the debt limit increase to a Harvey bill is intended to ease early passage of a debt limit increase and avoid a potential stand-off over what could potentially escalate into a technical default – the outcome that is violently spooking the Bill market – and could rattle financial markets, one of the officials said. According to Bloomberg sources, “the White House would like to extend the debt limit long enough to move back the threat of a U.S. default until after Congress can deal with funding for the full federal fiscal year and tax legislation the Trump administration backs.”

In other words, yet another can kicking, one which would likely push back the debt limit debate to some time in December.

How likely is the success of this latest U-turn by Trump? Bloomberg writes that administration officials have already begun talks with congressional leaders about the new approach. It remains to be seen if Trump will be able to win over enough Democrats to silence what, at least as of this moment, appears to be staunch opposition by the Freedom Caucus which also succeeded in sinking Trump’s first attempt at repealing Obamacare back in March.

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