Supporters of the initiative petition contend the utility hasn’t made a convincing case against an underwater route, which they said would spare many residents and businesses from a major disruption and a construction project that could last two years.
Horizontal directional drilling “is being used by National Grid in a number of instances and it’s being used in the state of Massachusetts,” said George Carey, the owner of Finz Restaurant on Pickering Wharf, which is bordered by Derby Street.
“It can be done,” said Madore. “The question is why they don’t want to do it.”
If the council and mayor don’t act, petition supporters say they will launch a signature drive to place the question on the ballot.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.