It's another day at work for Dorothy Senescu and Amy Cunningham.
They're on the Seward Highway, setting out cones and signs for seasonal road repair. Traffic is supposed to be slower in the evenings, but standing next to cars and trucks zooming by, it's still a busy roadway.
Both women are Traffic Control Supervisors for Northern Dames, a company that contracts to anyone who needs to change up traffic to get their job done.
The owner, Doris Coy, said about 90 to 95 percent of her employees are women, but she never intended for it to be that way. Controlling traffic takes patience, and sometimes flaggers stand for hours holding a stop sign for eager commuters. She said she hires men, but it's often women that stay on.
Northern Dames bucks the current trend in construction related industries. Statistics for 2009 show that just 9 percent of construction jobs were held by women. In Alaska, the proportions were a little higher at 14 percent, but it's still very different from other industries.
Coy started Northern Dames in the 1990s and she said back then, it was a little more difficult.
"It was kind of tough because we were the lowly flaggers and traffic control people," Coy said. "It didn't seem like we respected as much as the guys in construction."
She said things have gotten better since she started. She knows now that women in traffic control is a common thing.
Amy Cunningham said she had no reservations about becoming a flagger five years ago, but others sometimes react differently. With good pay and a slow winter, she said it's not something she plans on leaving any time soon.
"A lot of people get surprised when I tell them I work in road construction," Cunningham said. "I get to be outside. I get to go to awesome places. I get to meet awesome people I feel really lucky."
Their job is important for Daniel Moose, who was repairing part of the scale on the highway while the women slowed down traffic around him.
"They protect me and my life depends on what they do," Moose said.