One of my best friends teaches construction safety, and she has noticed a substantial increase in work requests.

You will recall that one of President Trump’s first executive orders was for the initiation of construction of a wall on the southern border.

It turns out several of her clients are preparing bids for building the structure.

The federal government’s solicitation for the design and construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico has already drawn interest from nearly 200 construction and engineering firms, just days after the notice first appeared.

Companies from 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have signaled their interest in being selected to work on President Donald Trump’s proposed southern border wall. As of Monday evening, about 180 different firms had answered the federal presolicitation, which the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website on Friday.

The list suggests widespread interest in what could be one of the biggest—and most notorious—contracts of any infrastructure project planned by the Trump administration. Building a wall along some or all of the nation’s 2,000-mile-long southern border will require deep experience negotiating complex logistical, legal, and environmental challenges, depending on the scope of the project, about which little is yet known.

For those interested, the presolicitation can be found on the Federal Business Opportunities website; the posting specifically requests conceptual designs and prototypes showing what the wall might look like. Interested parties have to hurry, as they need to submit a prototype by March 10th.

…Following a quick evaluation, the agency will have the field of candidates narrowed by March 20. The finalists will need to submit offers with their proposed costs by March 24.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesman said in an email that the purpose of the solicitation is to develop design standards for a border wall meant to further deter illegal entry into the country. The design and construction of the project are both to be expedited.

Prototyping is a common way to decide how best to design a structure such as the proposed border wall, said the spokesman.

“Through the construction of prototypes, CBP will partner with industry to identify the best means and methods to construct (the) border wall before making a more substantial investment in construction,” he said.

The term being applied to the pace at which the bidding process is being conducted is “breakneck“.

The extreme haste of the government’s procurement process is matched only by the breakneck speed with which the government plans to build the wall. A Reuters article cites an internal U.S. Department of Homeland Security report as saying that the government aims to finish the wall before the end of 2020.

During the campaign, candidate Trump promised that the wall is going to be “big” and “beautiful”. It will be fascinating to see the winning plans…in a few, short weeks!