San Diego

Local Company Bidding on Border Wall Proposes Unique Idea

"If the federal government wants to build something, controversy or not, it's what we do," said Russel Baumgartner, President and owner of CCI.

As plans to build a new wall along the U.S.-Mexico border go ahead as planned, one local company is taking a different approach to building a wall. 

Concrete Contractors Interstate (CCI), a Poway-based company, hopes to enhance the current wall and the urban areas around it. 

"One of the things that we're really interested in doing is enhancing the current wall," said Russel Baumgartner, president and owner of CCI.

The company has worked on projects for the Hotel Del and for the San Diego Zoo.

Now, they are planning to submit a request for information, or RFI, in hopes of learning more and moving along in the process of submitting a bidding proposal. 

"Part of the RFI process has to do with building a new wall but also replacing some old walls. This is a great opportunity for some urban areas," said Baumgartner.

But the company says their design proposal differs in one significant way: they want their design to be aesthetically pleasing on both sides of the border. 

For that to happen, Baumgartner said, they want to work with Mexican artists for the south facing parts of the wall.

"If the wall is going to be built, it may as well be beautiful," said Baumgartner. "We will work with any culture that wants to be involved in the wall and they can help us build a beautiful wall in terms of design and how they want to enhance it."

Approximately 20 local companies in San Diego are planning to submit bids in hopes of winning the multi-billion dollar project to build a new U.S.-Mexico border wall. Proposals - including design and construction plans - must be submitted by Tuesday for the first bidding deadline. 

The Department of Homeland Security has several conditions for its border wall prototype designs. One requirement is that the wall must be at least 30 feet high, must be unscalable and must prevent attempts at underground tunneling. 

Baumgartner says what sets their company apart from the others is their so-called "flat work design."

Their design would use concrete to connect the tilt-up panel to the footing, instead of using a mechanical connection like anchors or bolts.

"It's a safer method because you don't have to get up on a scaffold," Baumgartner said. "It’s really affordable when the walls get tall, so when the Border Patrol came out with 30 foot walls, we said, 'hey you know what, we're right there.'"

Building a border wall is one of President Donald J. Trump’s campaign promises, and the proposal has been controversial from the start. The border wall will cost an estimated $20 billion, and funding for the massive construction project will require approval from Congress.

Some lawmakers have asked for a boycott of companies that take part in designing or building the wall.

"We talked at length about it. We're builders, we're not politicians," said Baumgartner. "If the federal government wants to build something, controversy or not, it's what we do."

ICC employs approximately 55 employees in San Diego County. The company was established in 1958.

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