Contractors in San Diego have begun building prototypes for President Donald Trump’s new border wall with Mexico. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release Thursday that eight, large-scale wall prototypes will be built and noted that the companies have 30 days to complete construction.

U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced half of the prototypes will be concrete walls and the other half will be built from “other materials.” Six companies are on the run for the contract: Alabama’s Caddell Construction, Arizona’s KWR Construction, Arizona’s Fisher Sand & Gravel, Maryland’s ELTA North America, Texas’ Sterling Construction, and Mississippi’s W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company.

U.S.-Mexican border. Image credit: Getty Images
U.S.-Mexican border. Image credit: Getty Images

Each of the prototypes will be 18 to 30 feet tall. The models will cost taxpayers between $2.4 million and $4 million.

Six companies have one month to finish wall prototypes out of concrete and ‘other materials’

The prototypes are being built in San Diego, California, according to CBP. CBP’s acting deputy commissioner, Ronald Vitiello, said the agency is committed to securing the border and “that includes constructing border walls.”

“Our multi-pronged strategy to ensure the safety and security of the American people includes barriers, infrastructure, technology, and people,” said Vitiello in a statement. “Moving forward with the prototype enables us to continue to incorporate all the tools necessary to secure our border.”

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) previously outlined a plan for a see-through fence on the side of the border facing Mexico, as well as a concrete wall 150 feet behind it, facing the American side, packed with an enforcement zone in between.

A CBP spokesman said the prototypes will function primarily for study. In fact, the prototypes can be disassembled after construction.

“I’m gonna go out and look at them personally, and I’m gonna pick the right one,” Trump said of the prototypes at a rally Friday in Alabama, according to NBC News.

Building the wall would cost more than $20 billion

President Trump during Friday rally in Huntsville, Alabama. Image credit: Reuters
President Trump during Friday rally in Huntsville, Alabama. Image credit: Reuters

Tuesday’s announcement is Trump’s most tangible step yet toward building the wall, the prominent promise of his presidential campaign. On the Friday rally in Alabama, he inaccurately said that half the prototypes had already been built.

“They take drugs, literally, and they throw it, a hundred pounds of drugs. They throw it over the wall –they have catapults—and it lands and it hits somebody in the head,” said the president, as reported by NBC News. “Believe it or not, this is the kind of thing that happens. So you need to have a great wall – but it needs to be see-through.”

Although the prototypes are being built, the Senate has yet to pass a bill for the wall’s construction – which would require a $1.6 billion down payment. And while Trump has repeatedly said Mexico will pay for the wall, the southern country has –repeatedly, too—said it won’t pay for it. Recently, a leaked DHS report estimated that building 1,250 miles of fencing and wall could cost $21.6 billion.

Source: NBC News