According to the border guard, the pilot fence built on the eastern border has proved to be economical. Plus, it’s much sturdier than the photos suggest.
The barrier erected by border guards on the eastern border became a national topic of discussion over the weekend, as there was a wide gap between expectations and reality.
In observational photographs previously published by King, the fence looks like an impenetrable and sinister steel structure. In a picture published by border guards in southeast Finland on their Twitter account, the pilot project’s green fence looks like a dog park or playground fence, according to Finns who commented on it.
One of the critics of the fence is Jussi P. Line, a professor at the University of Eastern Finland. He went to visit the Barrier pilot a few weeks ago, and was not convinced by what he saw.
– Yes, that fence pilot saw it then and it seemed like a complete joke. Lane told IS that the pilot looks good, especially if you compare it to observational photos and drawings the border guard released to the public earlier in the fall.
Read more: Professor teases eastern boundary fence: a complete joke and “reminiscent of a playground fence”
Read more: Border guards release photo of new fence on eastern border – people on social media shocked: “Same as dog park”
According to the border guard, the fence is still incomplete in the published photographs.
The fence on the eastern boundary is generally in the experimental stage. The construction of the pilaster fence alone cost six million euros. It is a few kilometers long. The border guard wants to build a fence of about 200 km along the 1,300 km eastern border. The fence takes 3-4 years to complete.
The cost of the project is estimated at around 380 million Euros.
Ismo Kurki, project manager of the pilot project of the fence from the border guard’s technical department, says that criticism of the fence has not gone unnoticed by the border guard.
“It was impossible not to notice,” says Kurki.
Then why does the fence look completely different than in the pictures? Kurki says it’s partly about perspective.
An observational image is always an observational image. When a photograph of a public building is published, I do not know whether the finished buildings will ever look exactly like the photograph.
Depending on the angle of view and the lens used a photograph can emphasize things or fade things out.
It is easiest to understand the matter by thinking of an observational image as a photograph taken in nature. Kurki says that there the camera is placed close to the ground, which makes the fence look higher. The picture was taken parallel to the fence, which makes the fence look much denser than it actually is. The fence posts are as in the overview picture facing the wrong way, with the wide side parallel to the fence.
— When you look at the network structure again, I think it’s very similar in nature. The structural foundations with which the overview picture was made are the same as the fence that was acquired. This is a uniform steel wire mesh fence.
In the same breath, Kurki says that the publication of photos of the pilot fence was not necessarily considered until the end.
– The idea here was just to say that the project is progressing and the fence is already up. The picture is probably taken from a bad angle. Really didn’t think about what the pictures show.
A pilaster fence is actually a sturdier construction than it photographs, says Kurki. It’s about 3 meters high, and you can’t dig under it. On top of the fence will be barbed wire with razor-like blades called NATO wire.
The method of foundation of fencing varies from place to place. In some places the pouring of concrete is needed, in others the foundation is dug directly into the rock. There are strict requirements for the strength of the foundation, says Kurki.
– They are not made public exactly, but yes, the foundation is firm.
A separate three-metre-wide animal gate will also be built into the fence, through which bears, lynx and moose, for example, can cross the national border. Cattle sliding gate can be closed remotely when limit condition requires.
Kurki is a reminder that a fence is not meant to be a completely insurmountable obstacle nor the solution to anything.
– All mechanical structures can be crossed, undercut or crossed at some point in time. The idea here is that if someone comes over the fence, the monitoring system will give an alarm and patrols will be there very quickly along the road.
According to Kurze, the pilot fence has proven to be a cost-effective project. According to cost estimates, it will cost a maximum of 1.9 million euros per kilometer.
About 70 percent of the money is spent on the fence, its foundation, gate and related construction work. According to Kurze, the second most important single cost item is the surveillance system to be built for the fence.
Other costs are, for example, the road to be built next to the fence that can withstand heavy equipment, the removal of trees, compensation to be paid to landowners, and the laying of electricity and telecommunication connections.
– Then the costs of management and administration are very less. The main part is the material cost and installation cost of the fence.
Kurki says the proposals received by the Border Guard have been more favorable than the cost estimates.
The offers received in the pilot were about two-thirds of the set budget.
The Border Guard organized a public tender for contracts related to fencing. For example, regarding land construction careers, the Border Guard sent requests for tenders to the 14 largest Finnish land construction contractors. Pilot Fence itself had received 11 offers from nine companies.
Kurki says that the different offers related to the pilot were much cheaper than others. According to him, it says that the companies that bid wanted to participate in the pilot to gain experience in building fences. It can bring a competitive advantage when the tender is held for the construction of the actual barrier fence.
It is not absolutely certain whether the price level mentioned by Kurze will also be maintained in the contract for the actual barrier fence. The pilot fence is located very close to the city of Imatra, while part of the final fence will be built in more remote locations.