The current fight – and now 19-day federal government shutdown – over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall could look simple when you consider the logistics of actually building the fabled barrier: It would take an estimated 10,000 construction workers more than 10 years to build the kind of 1,000-mile wall that President Trump has said he wants.

Even the more modest $5.7 billion in wall funding that Trump directly requested during a primetime Oval Office address Tuesday to address what he called “a growing humanitarian and security crisis” would take an army of 10,000 workers more than two years to build and yield only 230 miles of barrier, according to estimates.

And even at 1,000 miles long, the steel-slatted border wall would still be too small to be a boon for U.S. steelmakers.

The full version of Trump’s envisioned border wall – featuring rarely tested heights cast over almost unimaginable distances – would cost at least $25 billion, said Ed Zarenski, who teaches construction estimation at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. Zarenski spent 30 years figuring out project price tags for Gilbane, one of the nation’s largest construction firms.

“I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. But you’ve got to factor in engineering considerations,” Zarenski said. “And then I would say, is the project realistic? Probably not.”

After almost two years of Trump demanding that Congress fund his desire for an expanded southern border wall, little time has been spent determining how the project might actually come together.

The border’s landscape is uniquely remote and difficult. The project site is narrow and runs for miles. And there are unknowns, such as the maximum wind load for a fence about three stories high.

If Trump’s border wall gets funding, construction wouldn’t begin for at least six months – and likely longer, Zarenski said.

Land along the border still needs to be acquired.

Soil and environmental studies need to be done.

The first thing a construction firm would build is not a wall but a road running parallel to the border to allow heavy equipment to reach the remote construction sites.

Finding enough skilled workers in the current tight labor market also would be difficult.

And the project’s massive price tag comes with its own constraints. The construction industry’s rule of thumb, Zarenski said, is that it takes 5,000 to 6,000 workers a year to build $1 billion worth of construction.

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