The prototypes built for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall were torn down by U.S. Customs and Border Protection near San Diego on Wednesday.
“At this point, we have learned a lot from them, but we don’t necessarily have a purpose or use for them anymore, and we will be bringing them down,” an unnamed official told Fox 5 San Diego.
In its place, the agency is building a new section of fencing in the old “bollard” style currently used in other locations along the border, NBC San Diego said.
The prototypes were supposed to meet Trump’s campaign promise of a “big beautiful wall,” or ― as the federal government’s bid request put it at the time ― “physically imposing” and “aesthetically pleasing,” at least as seen from the U.S. side.
The prototypes were completed in October 2017 to test and evaluate for standards such as safety, and how easily they can be breached, CBP said at the time.
The walls were shown off to the media with great fanfare, with Trump visiting the site last March. While visiting he said he wanted “see-through” walls, and needed them to be tall as some of those attempting to cross are “like professional mountain climbers.”
“They’re incredible climbers,” Trump said. “They can’t climb some of these walls. Some of them they can. Those are the walls we’re not using.”
NPR said the prototypes cost $5 million.
“The prototypes were used as a tool. They used them for different attributes,” Border Patrol agent Vincent Pirro told the network. “They looked at some of the pros and cons of the prototypes, and they put them in a toolkit. And that’s what they’re going to use for future wall projects.”
Fox 5 said there are reports the wall prototypes flunked breaching tests, but those reports have not been made public. However, none of the companies that built them have been awarded contracts for wall construction.
NPR said the new secondary fence will be 30 feet high and be completed in January 2020.