The Jersey shore community where a roller coaster plunged into the ocean and became the defining image of Superstorm Sandy hopes to let its residents move back home in January.

Seaside Heights after Sandy (Matthew White, Townsquare Media NJ)

Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers says he and the council hope to let people move back into the storm-battered barrier island next month.

That plan has to be approved by Gov. Chris Christie.

Seaside Heights, where MTV's "Jersey Shore" TV show was filmed, is letting residents back into town during the day to work on their homes. Starting Thursday, they're expanding those hours to 7 am to 4 p.m.

The barrier island on which Seaside Heights sits is undergoing work to restore natural gas service, Akers says he expects that work will be done by Dec. 31 in his town.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.