The last time we visited the San Diego area at Legal Insurrection, all eight border wall prototypes had passed extensive security tests.

The first contact for the border wall has been awarded, and work on the project has begun.

The federal government began work Wednesday to replace a section of border wall in California, the first wall contract awarded in the Trump administration outside of eight prototypes that were built last year in San Diego.

Customs and Border Protection is replacing a little more than two miles in downtown Calexico, a sliver of the president’s plan for a “big, beautiful wall” with Mexico. A barrier built in the 1990s from recycled metal scraps and landing mat will be torn down for bollard-style posts that are 30 feet high, significantly taller than existing walls.

The administration is seeking $18 billion to extend the wall. Efforts to pay for it as part of a broader immigration package that would include granting legal status for people who came to the county as young children failed in the Senate last week.

Calexico is about 120 miles east of San Diego. SWF Constructors of Omaha, Nebraska won the contract for $18 million for their work. The project, which includes a bridge over the river, is expected to take 300 days.

The administration cleared the way for construction in September by waiving dozens of environmental and other reviews in Calexico. A 2005 law exempted it from environmental reviews if the Homeland Security secretary deems a wall to be in national security interests, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act.

The Trump administration has also issued waivers to build in San Diego and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. George W. Bush’s administration issued the previous five waivers, allowing the government to quickly extend the wall to nearly one-third of the border without legal challenges that can block construction or cause major delays.

Meanwhile, in his address to CPAC, President Trump pressed for additional congressional support for border wall construction.

You’re getting the wall. Don’t worry. I heard some — getting the wall.

Had a couple of these characters in the back say, oh, he really doesn’t want the wall. He just used that for campaigning. I said, are you — can you believe it? You know, I say every time I hear that, the wall gets ten feet higher, you know that. Every single time. Okay. Now, we’re going to have the wall. Or they’re not going to have what they want. We have a problem. We need more Republicans. We have a group of people that vote against us in a bloc.

I expect President Trump will approach the wall’s construction as he is handling Obamacare: If Congress won’t pass it in one fell swoop, President Trump will address the issue a segment at a time.