We drove over the flood levee, down a dusty road that dead-ends at a sugar cane farm. And there it was. The so-called “wall” looks more like a fence. It’s steel spine curves three miles down the banks of the Rio Grande and stretches upwards of 18 feet high. It sits on private property, so the only way for us to get a better look is from the water. From here, it appears fine. But Javier Peña, an attorney who represents neighboring landowners, noticed erosion from summer storms was quite literally covered up. He hired engineers to inspect it.
Sharyn Alfonsi: What have you seen?
Javier Peña: Massive erosion. There’s cracks in the foundation. The foundation is crumbling. There was an 8 foot hole under the fence. There are these trenches all along the wall, the sand just washing away. From the experts that have actually reviewed the site there is no differing opinions.
Sharyn Alfonsi: What is the opinion?
Javier Peña: That it’s not a question of whether it will fail, it’s when it’s going to fail and it already started to fail.