Winds topple US border wall being built; it falls in Mexico

CALEXICO, Calif. (AP) — A portion of border wall being built in California toppled in strong winds, falling on a busy street on the Mexican side, authorities said Thursday. No one was injured.

Concrete had not yet dried on several panels of steel poles topped with metal plates, which fell Wednesday about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) east of a border crossing that connects the downtown areas of Calexico, California, and Mexicali, Mexico, Border Patrol spokesman Carlos Pitones said.

The 30-foot-high (9-meter-high) barriers are being installed across the border as the Trump administration speeds up construction to erect about 450 miles (2,070 kilometers) of wall by the end of next year. The border wall has been a signature priority for President Donald Trump.

Trees prevented some panels from falling on the Mexicali street, which runs parallel to the wall. Other panels hit the road.

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Mexicali journalist Heriberto Reyes said he saw six toppled panels. The Border Patrol declined to say exactly how many fell.

Reyes said vehicles may have been crushed if they were in the path at the time.

“They averted a tragedy, in my opinion,” he said.

The Border Patrol is discussing the incident with the contractor, Pitones said.

The contractor, SLSCO Ltd., referred questions to the Border Patrol. The company, based in Galveston, Texas, was awarded the 11-mile (17.5-kilometer) project in December 2018 as part of a $156 million contract to replace existing barriers in California, using Department of Homeland Security funds from the 2018 fiscal year.

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