Largest yet: $1.3 billion contract for border wall awarded

FILE - This March 2, 2019, file photo, shows a Customs and Border Control agent patrolling on the US side of a razor-wire-covered border wall along the Mexico east of Nogales, Ariz. A North Dakota construction company favored by President Donald Trump has received the largest contract to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Army Corp of Engineers also said there was no set date to start or complete construction, which will take place near Nogales, Arizona and Sasabe, Arizona. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
FILE - This March 2, 2019, file photo, shows a Customs and Border Control agent patrolling on the US side of a razor-wire-covered border wall along the Mexico east of Nogales, Ariz. A North Dakota construction company favored by President Donald Trump has received the largest contract to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Army Corp of Engineers also said there was no set date to start or complete construction, which will take place near Nogales, Arizona and Sasabe, Arizona. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

PHOENIX – A North Dakota construction company favored by President Donald Trump has received the largest contract to date to build a section of Trump’s signature wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Republican U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota confirmed the $1.3 billion contract for building the 42-mile section of wall through “really tough terrain in the mountains” in Arizona. That's about $30 million per mile.

Cramer said Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. offered the lowest price for the project. He did not know how many companies bid.

Trump has promised to build 450 miles of wall along the border with Mexico by the end of the year. So far, the government has awarded millions of dollars in contracts for construction of 30-foot-tall barriers, along with new lighting, technology and infrastructure. The Trump administration says it has already built 187 miles of wall. Some of it is new, but most is replacing old, much shorter barriers that officials say were not sufficient.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday that there was no set date to start or complete construction on the latest award. Construction will take place near Nogales, Arizona, and Sasabe, Arizona.

Cramer said the fence will be painted black because “that’s what the president wanted, plain and simple,” Cramer said.

The idea is that the black wall would absorb heat making it more difficult for someone to scale, he said.

“That’s the president’s theory,” Cramer said. “Plus, it won’t be an ugly, rusty thing that everyone is putting up now.”