SAN DIEGO — The Trump administration on Friday waived en­vi­ron­men­tal reviews to re­place a 14-mile stretch of bor­der barrier in San Diego, shielding itself from po­tentially crippling delays.

The Department of Home­land Security said it would issue the sixth waiv­er of Donald Trump’s pres­i­dency under a 2005 law that empowers the secretary to waive reviews required under environmental laws if the border barrier is deemed to be in national security interests. Those laws include the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act and En­dan­gered Species Act.

The waiver, which was an­nounced Thursday and pub­lished Friday in the Fed­eral Register, helps clear the way for work to begin this month on re­pla­cing a second layer of barrier in San Diego, a steel-mesh wall that worked like a fortress when it was built about a dec­ade ago but is now often breached with powerful bat­tery-operated saws sold in home improvement stores.

The waivers avoid time-consuming reviews and law­suits challenging vio­la­tion of environmental laws.

The government award­ed a $101 million con­tract to SLSCO Ltd. of Gal­ves­ton, Texas, to build a bar­rier of 30-feet-high steel bol­lards, with options for an additional $30 million. Work is scheduled to begin this month.

Homeland Security Sec­re­tary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a public notice that the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector is “an area of high illegal entry,” with more than 38,000 arrests and seizures of more than four tons of marijuana and 1,800 pounds of co­caine in the 2018 fiscal year. San Diego was the third bus­i­est corridor for il­le­gal cross­ings among the Bor­der Patrol’s nine sec­tors along the Mexican bor­der in 2018 after Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and Tucson, Arizona.

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