The first steps in what President Donald Trump hopes will be a new era in border security began Tuesday when construction crews broke ground on prototype designs for a border wall, starting a 30-day sprint to construct eight examples in a fenced-off area on Otay Mesa.

Amid heavy security from state, local and federal agents wary of potential large-scale protests against the controversial project that have not materialized, four of the six private companies that won a national competition to build the designs began work in the morning.

San Diego police officers and county sheriff’s deputies were out in force at intersections and along streets near the entrance to the construction site. Customs and Border Protection officers, Border Patrol agents, the Federal Protection Service and California Highway Patrol were also seen in the area.

Occasionally a flatbed truck with a piece of heavy machinery lumbered down Enrico Fermi Road, swung east and crept slowly down one of the dirt roads that stitch the mesa to the building site. But work at the site on the first day was slow, with only a few trucks and workers there.

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