Drivers in Thunder Bay will have to wait until well into the new year to hear when the James Street swing bridge might re-open to traffic.

CN Rail's director of public and government affairs, Jim Feeney, told the CBC on Thursday that pedestrians can now cross the bridge, but cars will have to wait.

"Effective immediately the bridge is going to be reopened to pedestrian traffic. We did some work over the past week or so, the handrails and that kind of thing, so that is now open and safe."

James Street bridge inspection

Investigators with the Ontario fire marshal's office and Thunder Bay Fire Rescue surveyed the damage at the James Street swing bridge after the Oct. 29th fire. (Adam Burns/CBC)

Feeney said the company needs to complete a more detailed engineering study of the bridge before it can determine what's needed to allow vehicles to safely cross the century-old bridge.

"We're gonna do a full engineering study of the entire bridge structure. That will start immediately. It will take about three months.Our engineering dept and our consultants felt we needed to do the full study of the bridge before we can address the road which is the next thing we will be looking at."

The bridge was damaged by fire in late October. Within a few days of the fire, CN allowed freight trains to resume using the structure.  

The office of the Ontario fire marshal continues to investigate the cause of the fire.